The Illusion of Freedom

Posted on September 10, 2010
Updated October 23, 2015

“When I’m finally working where I want and on what I want, then I’ll be free.”

“Freedom is doing what I want, where I want, how I want, for who I want.”

Have thoughs like these crossed your mind lately? Be honest, they get to me all the time. If they have, this post’s for you.

Freedom is a great thing. But how it’s found is as confusing as the lure is seductive.

By all means, look for greater freedom in life. But don’t get stuck waiting for a day when freedom will hit you like three megatons of bricks. If you want to be free, then make freedom your state of being.

Otherwise, even if other people admire how unfettered and full of choice your life is, you will feel inexplicably trapped.

Is your vision of freedom trapping you?

We all want the freedom that self-employment and location-independence offer. But is having this goal in our mind healthy?

The opportunities to help us succeed as passionate self-motivators are growing, as is the culture of digital crusaders that’ll support us along the way.

But when it’s all about us, and what we’ll get, the vision of a free future self is detrimental to both realizing itself and to enjoying the important journey of self-discovery.

Longing for freedom is oppressive. How’s that for irony?

You’re probably already feeling the oppression and confusion that comes from simply living in the future. God knows I have.

The freedom of choice

The more choice we have in life the better. But still, we always have choices no matter where we are. We can make the most of things and move forward with courage and hope, or we can sit back and watch the situation take over.

I suspect everyone’s learning to refocus his or her aspirations in more positive and suitable directions. We aim for this or that vision, but what we end up with isn’t what we drove us, but something better: a better understanding of what we need.

It’s a part of discovering our place here, in terms of what we will give, not how and where we will find happiness. Because real happiness comes with giving and seeing our gifts help others – not from leisure, or shallow freedoms.

Aim High

Enlarge your definition of freedom. Look at your life as a journey to everywhere and nowhere. Think of your constantly present self as the only destination, and the rest as a colorful, co-created destiny. Or whatever.

Look at life in terms of what you can offer. Find work that uplifts people and make sacrifices to find your right livelihood if necessary. Fearlessly make sacrifices that might create freedoms for yourself and others, if you’re drawn to it.

Big talk, but the alternative sucks:  a life lived in selfish desire for a freedom that isn’t likely to ever exist or be as nice as you think it is.

Real freedom

I like to think that the world of digital entrepreneurship is appreciating a new set of freedoms.

Travelling is great. It keeps you on your toes, excited and spontaneous and can be a great teacher. But when you’re running from something, it stays with you – no, it integrates with your personality and becomes you– wherever you go. I think you get the picture.

Here are some goals that are more useful than the elusive idea of freedom.

  • I will use my talents and passion to improve lives and make a difference.
  • I will develop my skills and enjoy learning.
  • I will enjoy and make the most of each day.

Freedom is not a cirumstance

You can experience financial freedom. You can experience location freedom.

But you can also be free – which is something different.

Freedom is a spiritual state. It’s not concerned with what’s going on in your life. You could be in jail and freer than anyone else outside.

Freedom is an attitude

Someone I respect said that great people take care of the smallest aspects of their lives with meticulous detail. They do the smallest things well, by the virtue of who they are.

Anyone can become like this.

If you’re not making the best choices you can every second of every day, what will you do with the infinite choice that ultimate freedom would offer you, if it were possible?

What you get won’t be different from what we put into it… so if you want to feel free in the future, develop your freedom mindset now. And start at home – your own mind and body. Get healthy, get wise. There are always choices that can be made better – or made at all. Look at your life with the eye of your inner perfectionist.

Take this home peoples

Be free, free of worn out ideas, free of guilty old habits, free of bad influences, free of addiction, free of pride, free to think clearly.

Be free to live bravely, free to make sacrifices when needed.

Build your freedom from the inside out, and let what comes, come.

This is as much for me as anyone else, like all of my writing.

(Thanks to \/\//\R |_[]R[) for building a lego shuttle)