Is freedom a myth?  I sometimes wonder how free we are in our modern society. We tell ourselves we’re free but many of us are locked into jobs that see us spending most of our daylight hours doing something we don’t really want to do. Yes, of course it’s not slavery, we’re free to leave the job whenever we like and we get paid. But often our life choices keep us there. Maybe we’ve got a young family to support, a big mortgage, debts to service. Often our jobs pay us just enough to cover the cost of paying for our commitments which means we can never quite break free so it feels like we’re working just to stay still.

We’re conditioned from a very young age to confirm, to fit in, to do the right thing. Society expects certain things from us which by their very nature makes us not entirely free.

There will always be taxes, laws, rent, bills, indeed the cost of living in modern society means we’ve traded some of our freedom for a relatively safe and civil life. So what we’re really talking about then is degrees of freedom. Freedom within the framework of a civilised world.

Here’s the big thing I discovered: It’s not money that specifically sets you free. Indeed I know many rich people that have become enslaved by wealth. Their fixation with status and effects of conditioning means their money can be isolating. Freedom in the 21st century sense means being in control of your own destiny. So you’ve still got to obey the basic rules of our civilised society such as traffic speed limits, but you control when you leave the house. You don’t have to ask anyone to go to lunch. You can take a Friday off. Or more importantly you can decide to work on a Sunday if this suits you.

Freedom is choice.

So you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, he’s got a point but how the hell do I get to that stage? Stepping off the merry go round is such a big deal. I know it is.  It’s the the one big elephant in the room that most people gloss over when talking about escaping the 9-5. You’ve got kids at school, you’re married, house payments and all the rest of the responsible stuff you’re supposed to do as an adult. You can’t junk it all in and set off on your new business idea. You have responsibilities.

This is why a sideline business or money making activity is so important. it has three distinct benefits.

  1. You can try and test ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. Get your sideline profitable before you even consider such a high risk strategy of throwing in the corporate towel.
  2. It’s your taste of freedom. Just the very fact that you’ve got something bubbling away on the side that could change the way you operate your life is enough to make you see your life differently. The thing you’re doing now isn’t necessarily the thing you’re going to be doing in two years. You’ve got a moonshot in your back pocket!
  3. It flexes your brain muscle. Like any muscle the brain needs to stretched and exerted to make it work better. You’ll find that once you start thinking about ideas that more ideas will come to you.