As we go through life we develop ideas of what freedom would look like or feel like for ourselves. It may come from how you were brought up, the career aspirations you have or maybe just how you feel in particular moments.
If the idea of feeling liberated matters to you then it’s worth while creating a life that aligns with that.
Maybe for you liberation comes from being able to have last minute getaways a few times a year. It could be a day in a new city or a week somewhere far away. What matters is that you have the choice to do it.
It could be that freedom for you comes from being able to speak your mind without worrying about what other people will think.
Or perhaps you feel free when you don’t have to explain yourself to other people, as in you’re free to make choices without having to justify them.
Choosing a life that conflicts with what makes you feel free only leads to frustration. Frustration towards those that have become a barrier to your freedom and frustration towards yourself for ending up in these circumstances.
In all this, one of the most important things to remember is that freedom is a feeling. You might not feel free right now but you can always feel differently tomorrow (or a few months from now once you’ve made some changes in your life).
Sometimes it can feel like regulations don’t give us the freedom that we desire.
Then suddenly, when there’s chaos we call out for the need to be regulated.
The truth is we only want to be regulated when it suits us and that usually corresponds with our safety.
What’s the need for rules when no one is at risk?
But what is often overlooked is the overall benefit that comes from everyone having two follow certain rules and go through certain process. As much as they can be frustrating, they often benefit us much more than we realise.
A lot of people regularly find themselves overwhelmed.
The possibilites in every area of life are growing more and more each day.
There was a point in time where what you ate was limited to what you could kill and what you could grow at that time of year.
On one hand having more choice gives us the possibility of a richer life with more freedom. And let’s not forget, the increase in choice is the result of innovation that has has resulted in more options than humans once thought was possible.
However, having more choice can also make things harder, having 100 options instead of 10 can end up causing unnecessary stress. This in turn can reduce your overall happiness.
I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how much or how little choice you have, there is always room for innovation.
But we can’t ignore the unhelpful side effects of increased choice and so the important thing to remember is that when you know what you want you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.
For a large group of people they’ve spent most at least 4 months of the year working from home. They’ve had to adjust and adapt to a new environment whilst still maintaining the same work output that would be delivered in the office.
Despite the difficulties I think everyone gains something working from home. For some people those gains actually outweigh the losses.
The main thing is that you have more control over how you spend your time.
It could be starting early and finishing early or starting and finishing late.
Spending your morning working on personal projects.
Organising your work time to give you a few hours of leisure in the late morning to early afternoon.
Perhaps it’s being able to dress however you want and cook meals instead of just buying something or heating something up in the microwave.
Maybe, you’ve gained more time to spend with the people you love because you no longer have to commute.
As much as it might be difficult, challenging and inconvenient to work from home, it’s worth acknowledging the good bits.
What does freedom feel like to you?
More specifically what sort of life does it consist of?
Perhaps it’s less work and more time for creative pursuits. Maybe spending time less time with people that judge and criticise you. It could be feeling like you have options and not feeling obligated to do certain things. It could be more of that feeling you get when you’re around the people you love.
The feeling of freedom is easy to create in some areas of your life for example simply stop spending time with people you don’t feel good around. But on the flipside it might be slightly more challenging.
If those questions aren’t easy to answer, it’s something worth giving them some thought.
Once you have an answer, think about how much it aligns with your current life.
If gap between them is wide, what can you do to change that?
For many people, how they value or see themselves comes from other people.
This might be great when people are treating you well and constantly telling you how great you are but when not so much when you’re treated and being spoken of poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough.
Then you end up feeling stuck because you were always so reliant on other people to determine your self-worth that you don’t know how to stop.
And so, you feel down and worthless whilst also blaming other people for how you feel. I think that stage of blaming others continues until you’re able to realise that nobody else should be in control of how you feel about yourself. That’s not a solid foundation.
Suddenly the everyday mundane tings that often got overlooked are the very things that you long for.
The walk to the train station, getting a vanilla latte at your favourite cafe and walks through the city centre on a Saturday afternoon.
Those simple things were part of what was once normal life and although they meant very little at the time, they now represent freedom.
If 6 months ago someone told you that you wouldn’t be allowed to do those everyday things maybe you’d have been glad. The irony is that so often we try to get away from normality but right now you can probably think of nothing you want more.
It’s easier said than done.
We grow up having people tell us to be more or less of ourselves.
And for many at a young age you follow the words of those older than you. That’s fine when it comes to things like eating a balanced diet, doing your homework and being kind to people.
But on the flip-side when you’re being told to what career path to pursue or who you should be, I think that’s a problem.
How are you ever going to figure out who you are and be yourself if you’re always listening to other people? Sure this person might mean well and think they’re being helpful but they could also be projecting.
You’ll get told not to pursue something creative because it’s risky, to get a job in a particular sector because it’s more stable, to dress in differently… the list goes on. But often this advice has nothing to do with your happiness or life goals, it’s about conformity, a lack of belief, other peoples discomfort or even control.
And if you listen to all these voices and follow along with what you’re told you slowly start being less and less yourself and therefore less happy.
It’s not much fun living your life as an actor and allowing everyone else to direct.
And so in order to ‘simply’ be yourself you have to let go of all that stuff and be okay with other people being frustrated that you won’t do what they say.
In exchange for that, you get to be you.
I often like to remind myself of Zig Ziglars popular quote ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well.‘
So, how do you execute a big idea when you’re just starting out. Or do you just put it on hold until you have more experience.
I used to think that it was best to wait because I didn’t want to look back on a good idea and see how much better it could have been.
But in doing that, I wasn’t allowing myself the room for trial and error, room to improve.
There’s nothing wrong in doing something poorly , it’s part of the process. Not everything you do will be perfect and treating things as so will only limit your potential.
So, if you have a big idea that you’re holding back on, now might be the perfect time to do something with it.
Focus on doing things that are helpful and try not to get distracted by the seemingly significant things that are also known as stuff.
If 764 people read this post, I might come to the conclusion that I should write ‘Reasons to…’ posts more or that this length or writing style is the winning combo.
But in doing that I wouldn’t be giving myself the freedom to explore and develop as a writer. At the crux of it when you have a passion for something it will never just be about the numbers. It’ll always be more about the feeling, something you can’t measure.
When you’re in-flow and the words pour out with an almost trance like ease it might not be the most popular piece of work you’ve created but it took something for you to create it.
Even if you find a formulas that works you still have to innovate to some degree and after a while you might get bored because you’re no longer just being creative.
The use of a formula adds rigidity and constraints.
Checking the stats could also be done for reassurance that there’s at least one persons on planet earth reading what you’ve written and there’s nothing wrong with that because nobody puts stuff out there for it to go unread.
You might find a way to convince yourself that checking the stats will make you as better writer when the truth is writing will make you a better writer. The stats are just a distraction.