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What Is Freedom?

For me, everything began with the notion of freedom—the ability to determine the course of my daily schedule and overall life direction.

I was very motivated by the opportunity to decide for myself. A normal job didn’t fit into those parameters, so I did everything I could to create my own employment and well-being.

But that was early on.

Freedom is still extremely important to me. I’ll walk away from any business deal or career option that restricts my choices or limits future decisions in a way that doesn’t feel right.

What’s changed, though, is the definition of freedom. I learned in the early days that I didn’t just want freedom for freedom’s sake—I wanted to do something with it. I wanted to make things, to challenge myself, and to value growth and learning.

From the work I’ve done over the past few years, I’ve learned I’m not alone in this pursuit of creative independence. More than anything else, most people who are attracted to the ideas of this blog want freedom of their own. They want the ability to make their own choices and determine how they live their lives. In many cases, they’ll choose to value this freedom more than money, physical possessions, or even the perceived security of a traditional career.

The desire for freedom is what takes someone from a comfortable life to an uncertain, but far more fulfilling one. But is there such a thing as too much freedom?

If you haven’t known freedom before, it’s an exciting discovery. You wake up and wander out into the day with no obligations or expectations. You can choose your own adventure, and if you don’t like the morning’s adventure, you can choose another one in the afternoon.

After a while, though, this kind of freedom can itself feel stifling. The whole day is open to you… and you’re bored.

It’s like eating cake. One piece of cake is good, but eating a whole cake at once, or having cake delivered every morning? No thanks.

I think that most of us want freedom to create, to make something meaningful. The freedom that we achieve allows us to move to higher planes of mission and purpose.

So if you’re trying to create more freedom for yourself, I think it’s good to ask… what happens when you get it? What comes next?

For me, when I have nothing but time on my hands, I get antsy. I want freedom with a purpose, a project, a vision to pursue.

Freedom is the opportunity to choose our own future, but choose we must.

What do you think—what does freedom mean to you?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.


*We’re in search of great stories for the sequel to The $100 Startup. The next book will be all about quests and big adventures. Can you help?

Image: Tal Bright