Not all freedoms are the same. What are you really hungry for?
I must have been privy to the dreams and aspirations of tens of thousands of people by now.
It’s the first thing we ask when people come to us. “Well… what do you want to do? What do you want to achieve?”
And we push people hard on this. You need to get super clear on your goals – your destination – before you can get moving.
But through this window into people’s dreams I’ve seen a few themes emerge. And one of those themes is freedom.
I hear the term “financial freedom” so much that it’s practically a cliché. It is a bit meaningless. You really need to drill down and define what freedom means in this sense. Is it free from debt? Is it free to take a holiday? Is it free to quit work altogether?
But what is clear to me is that freedom is a fundamental human yearning. We all strive for freedom – for the opportunity to live life on our own terms.
What I want to say today is, even as someone whose business model is built around helping people achieve ‘financial freedom’, don’t go hunting for freedom in the material world. This is not the first freedom we are really hungry for.
The first freedom is the freedom to be ourselves. Our true selves. It is the freedom to actualise our potential and be the unique expression we were born to be.
And without this freedom, other forms of freedom are a bit meaningless, or at least unsatisfying.
I mean, I could show you many rich people who still live with the tyranny of their own insecurities.
I could show you powerful people – CEOs, politicians, leaders – who have no power over themselves – who get carried away by their lust, or their jealousy, or their old wounds.
All the material freedom in the world cannot save you from yourself, if you haven’t done the work.
And what is the work?
It’s like the Carl Jung – the psychologist and student of Freud said:
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
That is, until you have learnt how you instinctively respond out of your hurt, how tricksy your lust can be, how closed you become when your insecurities are triggered, how your vanity and hunger for status drive your choices in life – until you can uncover all of that then you will never be free.
You will always be a slave to things beyond your conscious control. You will never have the ability to consciously choose how to live your life – the decisions you want to make and the kind of person you want to be.
You will never have this freedom.
But unless you have the freedom to be the kind of person you want to be in the world, what’s the point?
What’s the point of having a million dollars in the bank account, and passive income stream on full bore?
If you are still a slave to your unconscious, all of that is wasted.
Well, I reckon.
So do the work. Go hunting for this ultimate freedom.
Of course that hunting is easier when you have the space that financial freedom allows. There’s no denying that.
But keep your eye on the ultimate prize: The freedom to be you.