You may have heard a saying along the lines of, own your life, don’t rent it. I always wondered what that meant. I mean, of course I own my life. Who else owns it? How can I rent it anyway? It’s my life, my body, my choice, and I am in control. Or, so I thought. Then I bought a home, and it changed my whole perspective about ownership.
I am different now than I was just a few weeks ago. I have rented homes for far too long, and now that I am a homeowner, I am finding myself hard to recognise. When renting, I was far less intrigued about tidiness, maintenance, and looking after things. I have changed in a heartbeat. Now, for some reason, my dishes are always done, my bench tops and splashback wiped down, my clothes put away, my bed made, my bathroom wiped down, my floors swept and vacuumed, and any little thing that is out of place is put back in place. I am even on the verge of employing a cleaner on a monthly basis. What has happened to me?
Ownership has happened to me. When I was renting, I was far less focussed on the state of the property, and now I am attentive and deliberate about looking after my home. It’s a miracle really. Not only am I focussed on the maintenance of my home, but incredibly, I am also enjoying it. Why, when I was renting, was it a chore and now I am owning, it’s a joy? Simple. I own it, I love it and I want to look after it for my own pleasure, but also to protect my investment. Ownership has changed everything for me.
Let’s go back to the idea of owning our life. There are many aspects of our life we can either own or rent (for the sake of a better description). What about your health and wellbeing? Do you own it or are you renting? Let me give you a powerful and personal example of what I mean. My greatest hero in life is my mother, who tragically passed away many years ago now. When first diagnosed with breast cancer back in the late 80’s, she was renting her wellbeing. In other words, she wasn’t taking responsibility for her condition, how it may have happened, or how to solve it. Instead, she presented herself to the medical profession to fix her. She passed ownership of her health to doctors who did the best they could.
Whilst conventional medical intervention seemed to work in the short-term, the cancer reappeared much more aggressive secondary cancer in her liver just 18 months later and she was given a much gloomier prognosis. This is when my mother decided to take ownership of her own health. She was no longer a passive observer to what was happening to her body. Instead, she started being very deliberate about making multiple positive changes; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This decision to own her wellbeing enabled her to create an extra 15 years of quality life above what doctors predicted for her. This inspiring lady will live in my heart forever, and her legacy will live on for many generations to come.
Owning something means that you are taking 100% responsibility for its performance, upkeep, and outcome. It’s amazing how much more aware and attentive I am to my home and things that are out of place now that I am an owner. So, let’s just do a quick stocktake of the things you are owning in your life at the moment. We have spoken about health and wellbeing. Are you truly aware and attentive of the things you need to do to recover lost health or keep yourself in optimal wellness? Do you own your relationship, or renting? I mean, are you aware and attentive to your responsibilities to maintain a strong, healthy, and open relationship that is growing each and every day.
Do you own your self-growth or renting it? I mean, are you simply allowing the attitudes and opinions of other people, television, or society to control your thinking, or are you deliberately associating with the right people and putting the right stuff into your brain? Do you own your financial position or renting it? In other words, are other people pulling your strings and telling you what you are worth, how much you can earn, how many hours you have to work and how to spend your money, or are you in control of your time, money and financial situation? Are you happy you read this blog, or are you squirming in your seat a little? Squirming? Great, then it’s time to change.
In my podcast this week called Everyday joy, Phil Barth discusses how he was just renting his health when a heart attack struck him down. After a while of pity-party and victim-minded thinking, he decided to take ownership of his health and life, and he deliberately started looking for the joy that was all around him every day. It’s a powerfully inspiring conversation I encourage you to listen to. The bottom line is, my friend, you have one shot at this life, and then it is done. If you want more joy, more success, and more meaning in it, then you need to take ownership. Trust me when I say, ownership changes everything.