You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness. – Robert Frost
If you’re lucky, you’ve never hated your job. I’m not that lucky.
When I graduated from school and moved home, I started working at a firm that wasn’t a good fit for me. I was creatively stifled and bored. After a short while, I decided to take the leap and start my own business.
Making that decision was excruciating — but I never knew that I’d be walking into the same stifled and bored feeling only a few months later.
Starting my own business felt amazing, like riding to the top of a rollercoaster. It was inevitable that I’d hit downward slope — and fast.
1. Interests Change
When I quit my job and set up my own shop, I wanted to do one thing: write a book. After I did that, I wanted to do another thing: help companies make websites. After I did that…
The pattern continued for months, and each new change in my interests ended up both adding and subtracting value from my life. (I once fired my entire team to start from scratch.)
After a few changes in interests, I realized that I was leaving a messy trail behind me. Instead of continuing to make rushed decisions and letting some people down, I realized one thing:
Freedom means making decisions based on the future.
And the future is unknown.
If our interests change every few years, our decisions should leave room to account for that.
2. You Learn
My interests change constantly, and as I navigate through those interests, I learn.
Picking up new skills through my interests adds tools to my toolbelt.
As I add more tools to my toolbelt, the projects I can try and offer the world are bigger, more impactful, more ambitious. Trying new projects based on new skills requires freedom to add new projects to my life, just like it requires removing others.
Albert Einstein, for example, had to let go of his early pursuits to truly be free enough to create his best work later on in life. The same goes for Steve Jobs, Oprah, and everyone else I admire. As they grew and picked up new skills, they let go of some projects to tackle newer ones.
True freedom means you can apply all kinds of new things as you learn.
3. Life Changes
As the years go by, life presents some interesting changes. People come and go, the rollercoaster goes up and down, and our opportunities wave in the wavering wind.
There are times when everything in life is working in our favor. The finances are great, the family is happy, and the opportunities are abundant. Other times, food is hard to come by, the family is on the brink, and opportunities are hiding off in a corner somewhere.
Freedom prepares us for both of these extremes.
Most of the time, that means living a lean lifestyle that permits the lows when they happen.
After quitting my job and walking into so many exciting projects I couldn’t
Freedom is about allowing yourself the space to adapt to your changing life.
After quitting my job, spending some time going through constant shifts in focus, and finally realizing I needed a change, I think I may be on the track to real freedom.
It’s not about breaking free once. It’s about breaking free constantly and leaving enough space open to changes in the future.
Are you ready to break free?