Five (Inner Excellence) Skills That Will Change Your Life: Skill #2

By: Jim Murphy

Five (Inner Excellence) Skills That Will Change Your Life: Skill #2


  1. Believe in your dreams.
  2. Compete (and live!) with freedom.
  3. Be fully present.
  4. Relax under pressure (control your physiology).
  5. Have emotional control.

This article, written mostly in a cafe in Cairo, Egypt, is dedicated to all those who don’t have the freedom to go to the doctor or eat in a restaurant, or do many of the things I’ve taken for granted over the years. The first paragraph below was taken from the book Inner Excellence.

Inner Excellence (IX) Skill #2

Compete (and live!) with freedom

If you want freedom, you might consider going into the wild. There’s no mortgage, bills, or lawn to mow. If it’s stability and security you’re after, you might consider the three meals a day offered within the four walls of a prison. But if you want a different freedom, the freedom of a life of vision and courage, peace and joy, it’s going to cost you. Real freedom is costly.

Real freedom is not having the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, because you’ve already got that. Too many choices, ironically, is confining. That life is scattered, with little bits of us going in many different directions. It lacks focus, and purpose.

Real freedom is far more than access to choices and pleasures. Real freedom is to have a deep sense of well-being and contentment, joy and confidence, independent of circumstances. To get that sort of freedom, that life, you need to greatly reduce your options. You need to remove all that’s not you so you can reveal the warrior within.

American rock climber Alex Honnold lived in a van for 11 years, ate his meals out of the pot, and showered wherever he could… all so he could chase a dream. In order to climb El Capitan without ropes, he eliminated everything that wasn’t helping him dream his life and live his dream.

If you want the freedom to play piano in Carnegie Hall, the freedom to play center court at Wimbledon, or the freedom to play Augusta National at the Masters, it will cost you… pretty much everything.

You’re going to have to give up home-cooked meals and homecoming dances, barbecues and belly flops listening to the Beach Boys… You’ll give up Mexican food on Mondays with Melanie (perhaps) and, well, you get the picture.

You’ll feel like you’re giving up most everything and, for those of you with really big goals like those above, it will be true. You’ll give up most everything in exchange, for a chance, only a chance, to gain one thing, or a few things. And you may not get it. So it becomes scary–and tense.

That’s where Inner Excellence comes in. Freedom is the hallmark of Inner Excellence. It’s an inner liberation.

Inner Excellence is an in-depth system to train the heart to love what is most empowering.

What’s empowering is to walk in love, not fear. Love is the willingness and desire to sacrifice and serve others because you want the best for them.

What’s empowering is to have strict boundaries around your purpose, your values, your heart, and your routines.

What’s empowering is to focus on learning and growing, daily improvement. You don’t know that getting the outcome you want is what’s best for you.

In a big competition, to have freedom…

  1. Focus on raising the level of excellence in your life, to learn and grow, in order to raise it in others.
  2. Focus on your 4 daily goals:
    1. Give the best of what you have that day
    2. Be present
    3. Be grateful
    4. Focus on your routines and ONLY what you can control.

3. Focus on loving the audience, your teammates, and your opponents. Love is fearless.

4. Visualize success beforehand, especially the pressure moments, but be willing to make mistakes, and to face the feelings of mistakes. It’s all about growth, remember?

When we focus on love, the unconditional kind, the by-product is joy. And freedom.


  1. Freedom comes from pursuing personal growth, learning and growing, as your greatest goal (even more than winning).
  2. Real freedom is to walk in love, to put others above self, even your opponent (love them by giving them your best and wanting them to do the same).
  3. Real freedom is the ability to reject disempowering desires and embrace empowering ones. It’s the ability to focus on and pursue the inner strength and creativity that supports freedom.

Action to take:

  1. Examine your life. Ask yourself, “What do I want most in my life?” Say it’s to be a professional athlete. Ask yourself why you want that. And keep asking why you want whatever your answer is until you get to the point where it’s the highest value you can think of. For many, it’s freedom.
  2. Simplify your life. If it’s freedom you want most, ask yourself what you’re willing to give up in order to simplify your life. What will you remove, or say no to, so you can say yes to your dreams?
  3. Be still. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Create space in your life.
  4. Tighten your morning and evening routines. The first hour of your day should be scripted (no decisions).
  5. Visualize, meditate, and pray about having your heart be transformed, to love most what’s most empowering.

The more that happens, the more your life will move towards deep contentment, joy and confidence, independent of outcomes.

I’d love to hear where you’re at with your routines, your reductions, and freedom.

Love Jim


If you ever go to Saudi Arabia and then to Egypt, be prepared for two different countries, two very different worlds. Downtown Cairo for me, was like going to New Delhi, India, without the Tuk-tuk’s and nicer cars.

If this article seems a little all over the place, i finished it just now… coming off a 14 hour flight and 26 hours of airports and airplanes. I trust God will give you more freedom no matter how well this was written.

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