What is freedom?
The dictionary definitions go something like this:
- The absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.
- The quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous.
- The power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.
- A political right.
- Absence of slavery.
And several similar definitions.
I don’t really think that anyone feels that they have 100% freedom. Freedom to me means a total absence of any type of pressure or influence that compels me to do, say or think anything against my wishes and the absolute ability to do anything ( that does not negatively impact any other being) that I wish to do. For me, there are three main components to freedom.
Total financial independence
I believe that this is the most important source of freedom in the modern world, and if a person has this, they are well on their way to achieving total freedom. Work, the traditional source of money, is not enjoyable for many people and although it is true that in the western world, everyone is theoretically free to choose how they earn their money, there are many barriers to actually working in the field that one loves, and if one loves their work, it isn’t really work as we have come to understand it. Barriers can include education, intelligence (which is not the same as education), temperament, childhood influences/indoctrination from many sources, the financial situation that one is born into, mental outlook and many more barriers and influences that have an impact to a varying degree. The ideal situation is to have a multi million dollar bank account, but I suspect that even multimillionaires would object to me saying this and that they would cite many reasons why their money does not give them freedom. The one thing that nobody can deny, is that wealthy people certainly have more potential to achieve freedom than people without money and if they can’t achieve a large degree of freedom by using their money then they are not using it wisely.
According to various recent studies, 50%-70% of people hate their jobs. Most people end up tying themselves down to a job or field of work by accumulating debt as soon as they begin to earn money. Once the person is in debt, they have to continue the work that they come to dislike or hate, in order to pay the debt off, while also supplying cash for everyday survival. They continue on, hating and resenting the job or jobs for their whole lives. My experiment with freedom began with downsizing my job so that I have more time and energy to explore more fulfilling methods of securing financial freedom. I believe that financial independence is the key factor to freedom. The saying that “you need money to make money” is very accurate. If you don’t believe this, then you have never attempted to generate money, independent of a “job”.
The manner in which a person views the world plays a huge part in how free he/she feels. One person could feel trapped and imprisoned, yet another person can feel free and fulfilled in exactly the same situation. Some people feel doomed from their first remembered thought, others feel empowered. I don’t know why this is, but I believe that the less optimistic mind can be trained by the individual to become more productive. A negative mind attracts negative things. The law of attraction is real. Even if you don’t believe this, Wouldn’t it be better to think positive thoughts rather than negative ones?. Affirmations, meditation and manifestation techniques can be employed to set your mind free. Try not to watch the news, most of it is propaganda anyway. If you study news broadcasts, some form of agenda becomes apparent, and it is not healthy for a person to subject themselves to this. Take some form of exercise regularly, physical exercise is good for mental outlook and it also helps your body to function as an effective tool for personal freedom.
No Unwarranted Obligations to Others
This is a hard topic to balance properly. Any decent parents will always feel an obligation to their children, and rightly so, as they are responsible for bringing the child into being. If the parents are lucky, the child will also feel an obligation to minimize those obligations for the parent. A person should not settle for a life of drudgery, misery or mediocrity because of any other person’s expectations or behaviour. I have always found that if mutual respect is present between people, that the weight of anything that can be considered an obligation is reduced considerably, almost to a negligible degree. A parent that attempts to forcefully mold their child into something that the child doesn’t want to be, especially where work or marriage are concerned, is basically claiming the child as their property. I do not consider wise advice as part of this, as advice is given freely and can be acted upon, or ignored by the recipient.
People who are conscious in their efforts to restrict you do not have your best interests in mind and ways to free yourself from such people should be made a priority. Obligations to others are accepted by people constantly, and if you feel that your service is worthwhile and makes you happy then it is not the type of obligation that I am referencing here. The particular freedom restricting element can more accurately be called an imposition.
I most definitely consider the possession of enough funds to be free of the shackles of “work” to be paramount. When I use the word “work”, I am referring to a job as an employee that one does not want to do by choice, but is compelled to do, in order to pay the bills, buy food, survive etc. Money seems to be a dirty word for many people, probably because they don’t want to be considered a mercenary individual. The world is organized around money however, and the more of it you have stored away somewhere, the more freedom of choice you have.
A person could always just go to a remote area of the world and live off the land of course, and if this idea is attractive, you could possibly find freedom without money, but opportunities to live like this are not very abundant today and most people from the developed world would miss their gadgets and labor-saving devices, but It is a possibility.
- “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford
- “The mind is everything. What you think you become”. – Buddha
- “Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves”. – Friedrich Nietzsche
- “The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “No one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free”. – Buddha
- “ A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself”. – Jim Morrison
- “Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self”. – Nathan W. Morris
- “Financial Freedom is less about Financials and more about freedom”. – Manoj Arora
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