Look elsewhere to unlock existing resources

How could one improve one’s life, without paying a single cent extra?

As the New Year looms, and we’re tossing around various possible resolutions for 2017, are we missing what’s right in front of our eyes?

Every now and again, radio stations challenge callers to phone in and hum the theme tunes from the most famous TV shows.

Like the jingles for Magnum PI, Airwolf and Knight Rider.

Or or the A-Team – remember that? Da da-da-da!

Of all of those ’80s action shows, my best was MacGyver.

The IMDB entertainment website explains: “Angus MacGyver is a secret agent with a difference.

“He is quiet, mild mannered, deeply principled and refuses to carry a gun on his missions.

“Fortunately, the last detail is unimportant when compared to his astounding mind. Drawing on a vast practical knowledge of science, MacGyver is able to make use of any mundane materials around him to create unorthodox solutions to any problem he faces.”

Typically, MacGyver would find himself in a pickle, with seemingly no resources. So he’d “MacGyver” a solution with whatever he had.


I thought about MacGyver this week – as our economic woes threaten to consume us further, in 2017.

From homes to entire countries, the situation is bleak.

And we compound the misery, by a critical error: the belief that only money-bought improvements can enrich our lives.

Our starting point is usually: To make my life better, I need this, and that, and that.

A new car, a new house, (or at least renovations), a better TV, new clothes, a cellphone upgrade.

Anything and everything that typically requires money.

I wondered: How could I improve my life, without one cent extra? Impossible?

Let’s try – health and happiness, for free:

One could start getting fit again. Not at gym (money), but by jogging and doing push-ups (no money).

One could stop smoking, drink less. Go to bed earlier, read more. Watch less junk on TV.

Spend less on home security, join the neighbourhood watch.

One could visit dear relatives more often, before they’re gone.

Drink more water.

Plant a small veg garden, whatever will grow best.

Get up early on a Saturday morning, take a walk, or cycle to a beach, before the world wakes.

Turn off the geyser. Enjoy the cool water – it’s mid-summer!

Don’t buy more clothes – give half away.

Make new playlists for the drive to work.

Make a bird bath. Including a place for the crumbs in the toaster.

Stop house-hunting for a bigger garden – play soccer in the park.

Finally start sorting those hundreds of family photos on the computer – rekindle those precious family memories, protect them forever.

Grab a pillow, lie on the lawn, look up at the stars. Clear your mind. Feel free.

The list is endless. One realises one could develop an entire turn-around strategy for one’s life – improve one’s health, fitness, stress levels, family life, knowledge, education, quality of living – without spending a cent.

But it requires a fundamental acknowledgement: There’s simply no need to rely on money.

You need to look elsewhere to unlock existing resources, find hidden treasure – whether you’re a person, a family, a company, an administration, a country.

The real game-changers are our attitude, determination, purpose and delight.

Everyone’s a potential MacGyver.

A resource investigator.

Maybe even an alchemist.