bruce lee

“When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear of what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power. Your goal in every maneuver in life must be ownership, working the corner for yourself. When it is yours, it is yours to lose – you are more motivated, more creative, more alive. The ultimate power in life is to be completely self-reliant, completely yourself.” – Robert Greene: The 50th law

It is absurd to think that you work for anyone other than yourself. You work to meet your own needs and desires. There may be times where you have to “work” for somebody else – there is nothing wrong with this, but, Robert Greene and I agree entirely on one item: you must strive for ownership over your own labors.

Ownership = Freedom: Having ownership of your work means freedom. You are free to work the schedule that works best for you. You are free to focus on things that bring you happiness and enjoyment. Too many people believe that enjoyment and work are two entirely divergent themes in our life. This is wrong. Work can and should be a living extension of our passions. If we are to ever be as successful as we would like to be, this is an imperative distinction to make.

When you own your work, you are the boss. There is no clock to punch and no one cracking the whip behind you. You are free to sink or swim on your own. With freedom comes responsibility. As Robert points out, you must always be “working the corner for yourself”. This means every term of employment is an educational experience for the day that you start your own business. Every paycheck is the necessary financing for a future venture. Every colleague is a potential investor or partner in a future venture. You are always positioning yourself for ownership, therefore positioning yourself for complete and total freedom.

Freedom = Creativity: Freedom unleashes our creativity. Contrarily, the rigidity of most work environments crushes our creativity. Most work environments control our schedules. We are inundated with menial tasks, pointless emails and time-wasting meetings. People must check, re-check, double-check and over-check everything we do so that everybody feels integral to the successful completion of a project. We create rules on top of rules and do things the way they have always been done. Breaking these chains is a crucial step in releasing your true creative potential.

When you find the freedom to develop your creativity, you begin seeing the world differently. Opportunities for improvement turn up everywhere. You find better ways of doing everything. You find new efficiencies. You find opportunities to improve your methods – freeing up your more of your time for creative endeavors. Minutiae gets lost in a sea of big-thinking. You feel alive. Ideas creates new ideas. Your creativity, creates more creativity.

Creativity = Confidence: Having the ability to explore your creativity gives you confidence. You feel unrestrained. Nothing is off limits. You are free to explore new ideas and abandon them for better ones. This latitude is a breeding-ground for breakthroughs. When you are free to question and challenge yourself, you develop solutions. Developing solutions gives you confidence. You become a leader. People turn to you to solve problems. You have the confidence to tackle problems most others are afraid to. You are fearless.

This fearlessness puts you in a position of power. People turn to you. People are attracted to you. Your confidence makes you a leader. Doors of opportunity are always opening for you. You begin solving greater and greater problems. Each success brings you more confidence. Your new confidence enables you to solve bigger and bigger problems.

Once you recognize the power of ownership – the world becomes a less intimidating place. It becomes an endless source of opportunity. Once you have the freedom and ownership over your efforts, your creativity will explode, opening more doors. This freedom and creativity gives you more and more confidence until eventually, you see no limits. There is nothing that you are not capable of doing. You live in a different world than the majority of people. You are intimidated by nothing. You are fearless. You have ownership over your life.