No coffee, no social media, no Netflix, no alcohol: A 7-Day Clarity Fast

Feeling good isn’t true freedom.

Dave Schools
Nov 21, 2017 · 5 min read
When everyday is drudgery

Looking inside the deepest layers of my identity, I must admit I don’t like what I see. And I’m sick and tired of letting myself get away with it.

Where I’m at

I’ve noticed since we began this adventure, that we have a lot of control and freedom —more than we typically did when we both had bosses, leases, debt, and obligations. Now we choose where we want to live, how we want to live, and nobody tells us what to do.

It’s a fun way to live. But it’s causing a deeper problem. And if it continues, it’s only going to get worse. I don’t like who I’m becoming and my wife probably doesn’t either.

Honestly, I think the problem is pleasure. Too much pleasure, really. The endless, easy, and innocent pursuit of just “feeling good” is birthing a savage soul-eating monster inside me.

Ravi Zacharias discusses how pleasure is a worse problem to have than pain in this video:

I cannot recommend this video enough.

Here’s a snapshot of our typical week right now:

  • I work as much as I want, on whatever and with whomever I want. (my wife works five night shifts a week at a hospital around the corner and I’m usually at a Starbucks scanning my gold card for $5 drinks).
  • We eat wherever and whatever we want.
  • We drink as much as we want.
  • We travel anywhere we want.
  • We exercise however (much) we want.
  • We watch whatever and however much we want.
  • We believe whatever we want to believe.
  • We buy anything we want.
  • We have no commitments.

We have complete and utter freedom.

And I’ve never been more miserable.

Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, we have fun. Lots of fun. We “feel good” all the time. And it’s certainly not anyone else’s fault. And I’m astoundingly thankful for living in the great free nation of America. But the sense that there must be more than this never seems to go away.

Is this really the life people are referring to when they say “financially independent” or how Tony Robbins likes to say “Unshakeable”?

It showed me that true freedom isn’t circumstantial limitlessness. True freedom is the meeting of purpose and truth and action. “Feeling good” isn’t happiness. Happiness is like the weather. It changes day-to-day. There’s something deeper.

These Christians in the movie didn’t give a rip about feeling good. They found purpose, truth, and action in their belief. Sure, they weren’t materially prosperous but they lived with unwavering hope.

I drink a cranberry vodka and vape while watching Parks and Rec on Netflix.

I “challenge” myself in the kitchen with Blue Apron.

I publish articles online and get good stats.

I fart whenever I please.

When I compare my life to the lives I saw in Silence, I gotta ask: What the hell am I doing?

So I’m hitting a painful crossroad in myself. Complete “freedom” — the ability to do whatever I want and live utterly unbound — is not freedom at all. It’s empty. It’s a party yacht without a rudder.

There must be another way. I don’t know what it looks like, but I’m going to cut the sh*t out of my life and see if it becomes any clearer.

The 7-Day Clarity Fast

Come clean with my wife about everything. Every. Thing. Get on the same page. Jason Castro led by example in this brilliant video:

I beg you to watch this

After that, it gets practical:

  • Replace COFFEE in the morning with TEA and WALKING/JOGGING
  • Replace ALCOHOL with LA CROIX

Next steps, protective measures, and caveats:

  • No devices or screens after 10pm.
  • Alcohol only when coupled with marital romance.
  • News, social media, and reading online only when working on a specific project.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Be completely honest with my wife about everything.
  • Write about everything. Every thought, every impulse.

“What’s the point? Aren’t you just fixing the external and avoiding the internal?”

Yes, it looks like that. But like I said, stripping away comforts is a great way to receive clarity. Comforts distract us. They give us excuses. They medicate pain and procrastinate change. What are your comforts? Maybe you don’t know. Here’s how you can tell: What makes you angry when you don’t have it? What are you holding onto with white-knuckled fists? Maybe it’s time to let them go.

In order to find a treasure chest buried in the ground you have to dig through a thick layer of dirt, muck, and debris first. That’s what this is all about. The goal of the 7-Day Clarity Fast is to be free and and to be whole.

When you look inside yourself, are there things you don’t like? Maybe not. Maybe you’re good as you are. But there will come a day when introspection is a depressing exercise, when you don’t like what you see in the mirror. When that day comes, you have two choices: ignore it and keep running back to your self-medicating comforts, or face the darkness and transform yourself.

Here’s everything I learned in PART TWO of the 7-Day Clarity Fast —

Thanks for reading.

Dave Schools

Written by

Startup journalist appearing in Inc., CNBC, Axios, Business Insider. Creator of CEO of Party Qs app.