What is freedom to you? For some people, it’s being free from the tyranny of governments. For others, it’s being able to spend time with kids. For still others, it’s having the money to be able to travel the world.
But what is freedom at heart? How do you achieve it? Where does it come from?
Ask many experts on what freedom is that they’ll tell you that it’s several things: freedom from “things,” freedom from being “busy,” and freedom from a job you hate.
Let’s unpack the “freedom from things” idea first. In the West, we’re obsessed with accumulating all the latest stuff, whether it’s the most recent release of a particular model of car, phone or clothing line. When we see it, we feel as if we have to have it. But the truth is that the happiness that these things create is, at best, fleeting. Just having more “stuff” doesn’t give us freedom and, worse still, it can leave us in debt and tied into paying off credit card bills. It’s not a route to freedom.
Likewise, being “busy” isn’t just a fact of life. For many people, it’s a kind of addiction. It’s something that we feel that we have to do because if we don’t, we won’t keep up with other people or, worse still, have to spend time with ourselves. Being busy is a form of avoidance, but it doesn’t add to the quality of our lives. It takes away from the things that matter to us: relationships, personal growth and development, and contributing to our communities.
Finally, being stuck in a job you hate is a form of imprisonment. People who hate their work don’t view it as something engaging to do with their time, but something they have to do to survive. It’s an unhealthy attitude and almost always leads to feelings of anxiety, loneliness and contempt.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at all the things that you have to do if you want to achieve freedom in your life.
Abandon Your Desire For “Things”
When you work so hard, it’s often tempting to want to reward yourself with things. It’s something pleasurable that you deserve for all your efforts.
But when you think about it, this is circular reasoning. You work hard to buy things. But the only reason you buy things is because you work hard. It doesn’t make sense. Would you really need to buy so much if you weren’t working so hard? Probably not.
Rather than avoiding work altogether – which is a bad idea for most people – try to think of it differently. Work is something that you can enjoy for its own sake, especially if you’re adding value to people’s lives. Even if you’re doing something where the value-added isn’t apparent, you can use your job as a tool to get what you want out of life: not just things that clutter up your house.
Commit To Lifelong Learning
One of the reasons people hate their jobs is that they feel that they are stuck in a rut, not fulfilling their true potential. That’s why everyone in the 21st century should commit to lifelong learning. Lifelong learning provides people with the ability to update their skills and move on with their careers.
You don’t have to give up work to carry on learning. The best distance learning MBA courses allow you to work in the evenings and part-time, enabling you to continue making money as you educate yourself. Try, if possible, to choose a learning programme that will help you get to where you want to be, whether you wish to progress from your current position or switch to an entirely new career path.
Visualise Your Perfect Day
Many people know what freedom isn’t: having too little money, being stuck in a job they hate, or not having the time to do the things that they want. But many people change their lives and don’t end up in a better place. Why? Because they’re not clear on what freedom means to them.
A great way to get around this little conundrum is to visualise what your ideal day looks like. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where would I like to wake up?
- How hard do I want to work?
- What is the purpose of what I am doing?
- What income do I need to make to fulfil my goals?
- How do I want to spend my time?
- What would motivate me, even if I didn’t get paid?
All of these questions are important because they help to frame freedom. You don’t want to be like somebody who wins the lottery, has all the money in the world, but then falls into crisis as their routine becomes disrupted. No matter how much freedom you have, your life needs purpose.
Question Your Relationships
Not all relationships are healthy. Some are downright destructive. Being embroiled in a negative relationship destroys your personal freedom.
We experience bad relationships all the time. Your boss at work could be a bully. Your partner could be a liar. And your family could be verbally abusive. Being in these relationships saps your energy and makes you feel as if you can never be truly free. Questioning your relationships is, therefore, essential. Ideally, you want to find people who meet specific minimum standards so that you can remain feeling safe when interacting with others.
Be Happy Being By Yourself
Busy people aren’t always unhappy about being alone with themselves, but many are. Being busy prevents you from having to be alone with your thoughts and allows you to focus on other things constantly. The problem with this approach to life is that it is one of avoidance: you’re only busy because you want to escape being alone. People become slaves to business.
The solution? Deal with the issues that lead you to want to be busy. Then you’ll be able to determine whether being busy is something you choose or something that chooses you.