Autonomy (I will teach you to be rich and have a perfect body and find the love of your life)

There is one faucet wheel left in the kitchen. When you turn the water on or off, it drops with a loud CLANG into the tin sink. I’ve offered to have it fixed. “It’s not our house,” they say. I’ve been living here for just over one year; they’ve been here for seven.

I live among the people I work for (and with). Not only have I grown to love them like my own family, I’ve been offered a window into their lives, the trials they must suffer and how they see the world. One of the best gifts in life is a new perspective, and I’ve been lucky to be invited to share theirs.

I’ve compared the psyche of probationers and CMOs, entrepreneurs and monks, diamond sellers and social workers. There’s one significant difference.

It’s what marketing schemes and addiction recovery theories capitalize on. It’s what books promise when they tell you “I will show you how to get rich” and fitness models tempt with chiseled abs and downloadable workout videos. It’s how self help “gurus” sell monthly packages and some people start businesses while others stay at jobs they hate for years on end.


Autonomy is the belief that you can do, and that you’re capable of doing. People who are depressed lose this. This is the tragedy when you see animals, even people, trapped, locked up, stuck. They’ve lost the belief that their actions have an effect, so they give up. This is the worst thing.

The belief in yourself comes BEFORE any plan or action. It requires confidence and courage. It is the seed from which work and ideas blossom. Where creativity takes flight.

It doesn’t have to be big. One thought, “I can do,” followed by “I am doing,” and finally, “I did it!” tends to ripple. A little thing becomes the next, slightly bigger thing. And before you know it, you’re making dreams come to life.

Start with the kitchen sink.