Part IV: The Spirit
“Freedom lies in being bold.” ~ Robert Frost
A free spirit can’t be contained. It can’t be crushed, caged, or confined. To be a free man, a free spirit you must have. And to have a free spirit, you must have courage.
Learn to be free as a part of the system.
I’m not about to break free from society, head up to the mountains, and live a life of solitude – for the rest of my life, that is, I may do it from time to time over a short period. We’re a part of what some have deemed “the system”. ‘Tis the way it is. If we want to be a part of society, we have to pay taxes, contribute to our fellow man, and go with the flow to some degree.
That, however, doesn’t mean we can’t be free within the system and as a functioning part of society. Use these skills and steps to ensure that you’re free, and everyone can see it, especially you.
Face your fears.
Freedom is freedom from your fear. You need to consciously break through your fears daily. And recognize how that fear is presenting itself in your life. Is your fear making you lazy? Is it leading you to set small goals and take even smaller actions?
Don’t only face your fears, fight them. Every day, write down at least one thing that you’re afraid of. This isn’t about phobias, but rather adventures, goals, and ambitions. Have the courage to face your fears and welcome freedom and happiness into your life.
Move outside of your comfort zone.
“To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” Peter McWilliams
Freedom can’t be confined, so staying confined within your comfort zone is a life that opposes freedom. Freedom, success, and happiness all exist outside of where you’re comfortable.
Write down the aspects of your comfort zone.
Comfort zones are all-encompassing. They include your social life and relationships. They include your finances and geography. Comfort zones are your safety zones. And safety is the enemy of progress and accomplishment. Identify what makes you feel safe, and move outside of it. Push beyond it. Feel unsafe, and in doing so, you’ll feel free and alive.
Stay within your hardship.
I was talking with a guy the other day about religion. His point about religion is that it thrives in places of poverty because poor people need something to believe. They need faith just to survive, to keep pushing forward, and to think that there’s a point to their hardship.
I disagree with this sentiment.
Religion thrives in places of poverty because in poverty, you have to stay within your hardship. You can’t buy a car to quell momentarily quell your depression. You can go on a vacation to remove yourself from your stressors. You have to deal with it in the present. In dealing with your hardships, and staying within them, things become clearer, not more blurred. In dealing with your fears, your stress, your pain, you become stronger, wiser, and you gain true freedom.
It’s things like faith that give you a base of strength. I’m not saying you have to turn to religion, but you do have to deal with your shit and stop avoiding it. This is how you’ll become truly free. And everyone is blessed (yes, blessed) with hardship and pain. Use it to set you free.
Have faith in yourself, in your God, in whatever, but have faith that you’ll push through. You’re stronger than you think. March on like the warrior you are, and let your hardship aid you in your journey.
Let your experiences strengthen your will.
This ties in to the previous point, but many let their experiences get them down and shake their resolve. This isn’t the way of the warrior, nor of the free man. Your experiences, good or bad, should have a hand in shaping the man you are and the man you’re becoming.
A free man is aware of how his experiences are effecting him. This takes intelligence and self-awareness, two rare characteristics that are vital to the make-up of a free man.
Fight, exist for something greater than your own gain.
Every man needs to have a project or a goal that he works towards. But he also has to be fighting for some other reason. This may be his family, his community, his planet, or whatever.
Gain and grow in your own right, but find that purpose that propels you beyond your obstacles, through your struggles, and to your freedom. To be free you have to be free from your own greed.
Do what you love.
I hate it when people say this, then leave out the sacrifice and hard work that something as important as doing what you love to do entails. To embark on your own journey in life, and your own mission, will also mean incurring far more risk, work, and possibly no reward.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed. That, in itself, however, is success. The act of forging your own path to freedom is freedom and success in its own right. Doing what you love to do is freedom, not thinking about what you’d love to do.
Write down your gratitudes.
Happiness shouldn’t be the result of an accomplishment, but already exist on the road to that accomplishment. When our happiness is contingent on something like a goal achieved, when we achieve that goal, we raise the bar. Happiness, then, never comes.
To be free from worry, you need to be happy. But happiness isn’t something that needs to be achieved or attained, it needs to happen, and happen right now. Every day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Watch this video to learn why it’s so important to do so.
Stop worrying and start living.
Worry is the enemy of freedom. It’s one of the most crippling things that can invade our minds and crush our ambition, accomplishments, and freedom. Worry opposes living. If you’re worrying, you’re not living.
If you’re worrying, you’re not free.
Keep things in perspective. Don’t only accept the worst thing that can happen, make it a point to write down exactly what that worst thing can be. Then move on with your life knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way, because you can.
Removing worry from your life is possibly the greatest step to freedom. Stop worrying and please, start living.
Part V: Economic Freedom
To be free you can’t be bound by worry. Much of what people worry about in our society has to do with money. It’s a leading cause in divorce, in stress, breakdowns, and it doesn’t have to be. Let money aid you in your freedom, not hold you back from it.
Never Take Money from Your Government
A powerful scene from the movie, Cinderella Man, is when James J. Braddock had no other recourse than to go to his bank for assistance. Now, there’s no man I respect more than Braddock, and he needed help from his government. So how can I so clearly contradict myself?
An even more powerful scene from that very same movie, is when Braddock walks back into the same bank, his circumstances having changed, and gives back the money he received.
You may need assistance from your government, a friend, or a family member, actually, at some point, I’m sure you will, and please, take that helping hand, but always repay your debts. To be free is to be free from debt.
Fight For Financial Freedom
Financial freedom not only entails freedom from worrying about your finances, but freedom to do what you want with the money you worked so hard to earn.
A portion of my taxes, for example, goes towards funding safe injection sites where drug addicts are given needles so they can avoid getting aids while they inject heroine or crack into their veins (yes, that actually exists in Vancouver). I, in no way, want to fund something that further enables an addict to feed his habit.
Another part of my taxes goes towards funding abortion clinics. If you want to have these services, you should be allowed to pay taxes to fund them, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t. If you’re against the practice, in China, of killing their unborn baby when they find out it’s female (because men are more valuable in their society with the 1 child law), I don’t see how you can be for any practice that determines who gets to live and who doesn’t. That isn’t freedom, it’s control. Freedom shouldn’t merely be relegated to the breathing, but to those who have yet to breathe. Thus, I don’t want to have any part in stopping a life before it’s given the chance to be lived. I’d rather fund adoption services and foster homes.
We aren’t truly financially free if we’re not able to choose where our hard-earned money goes. Society has given you a lot, and you should give back, but you should have some control over what you give back too.
Fight for financial freedom. Fight for programs that help good people, and fight against programs that enable bad people. Be free by being a voice and a man of action. Don’t sit idly and ignorantly by.
Live Within Your Means
Freedom can’t exist in the stress of overdue bills and the inability to pay for everything you’ve surrounded yourself with. Sure, you may incur some debt to buy a house or to build a business, but that’s good debt. Don’t take on bad debt spent in an attempt to avoid your stressors, struggles, and pain.
Don’t envy others for the things they have, just keep your head down, grind, hustle, work hard and stay humble, and only buy what you can afford. You can’t be free under a mound of debt.
Work Hard and Stay Humble
As long as you’re working hard, always learning, growing, and pushing yourself, life will reward you with freedom. If you add the humility that will help you avoid buying shit you don’t need, your wealth will grow to the point where you can buy whatever you want.
True, honest hard work is always accompanied by humility. Hard work also gives you the confidence you need to grow, to push, and to be free. Always work hard. And always stay humble.
To Be Free, is to Live
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” ~ Albert Camus
Be free. Don’t wait for freedom. Live it. Have the courage to do what you want. Have the courage to stand up for what you believe. And always enable others in their quest for freedom as well.
Freedom is becoming an evermore elusive goal. No longer is it always the reality, but an illusion. We’re blind to how we’re bound, and most of the confining is of our own doing. Our fears and worries crumble our freedom. Take courage and be free. Live the life you know you can live, the one you dream about as you lay your head down at night. Have the courage to make that world your reality, and this world where you’re held back by your fears, a memory.