True freedom is to live as you are, to do what you want, and to spend time with people you like.
For many of us, true freedom is a distant dream. We’re tied down by obligations that we never wanted in the first place. So why do we still end up living a life we don’t want?
We live in deception because the truth is too painful. But no one wants to live in deception, as the stoic philosopher Epictetus once observed (quote is from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday):
“Who wishes to live in deception—tripped up, mistaken, undisciplined, complaining, in a rut? No one. These are base people who don’t live as they wish; and so, no base person is free.”
We all know that everything has a price. So what does it take to be truly free? If you want to live on your own terms and do as you please, you must give up the following 4 things.
I’ve been making a living as a writer for three years now. But I’ve been writing since I was 16. That means I didn’t get any visible benefits from it for years.
Why did I still continue writing all those years?
- It’s therapeutic
We all drive ourselves crazy with excessive thinking at times. But when you put your thoughts into words, they become less scary. When you write down what scares you, you will automatically work on a solution. Sometimes the solution is acceptance. But you need to write those things down first.
- It improves your self-discipline
Living a life of pleasure is simple. Everyone can “Netflix and chill.” It’s easy to “hang out” all the time. But those easy things will not give you inner satisfaction. The reason that we don’t do anything useful with our precious time is that we lack self-discipline. But when you write every day, you strengthen your discipline. You can use that better self-discipline to achieve virtually anything in life.
- You become a better persuader
Writing is nothing more than persuading the reader with words. But your tools are limited—you can only use words to tell a story. And when you write for yourself, you’re trying to convince yourself of your own thoughts. So the more you write, the better you become at persuasion.
- You improve your self-knowledge
Nothing will help you to get to know yourself more than translating your thoughts into words. When you force yourself to write every day, you automatically become more aware of your thoughts. And self-awareness is one of the most important skills that predict career success.
- It helps you to make better decisions
Too often, we do something without fully understanding why we do it. Think about it. How often do you answer “I don’t know” when someone asks you “Why did you do that?” That’s the sign of weak thinking. Sure, we don’t know everything. But we must be aware of that too. And when you write about your decision-making process, you will automatically become more aware of the “why.”
When I was finishing grad school by the end of 2010, like everyone that leaves school, I had to build a career.
Instead of getting a management traineeship, like most of my fellow business administration students did, I started a business.
That forced me to totally reinvent myself. As an employee or student, you’re used to people telling you what to do. But as an entrepreneur, you’re the one who gives the orders and executes them.
Every year, I kept improving myself and acquiring new skills, one after the other. I learned how to build a website, write copy, and everything else you need to know to run your own business.
But after three years, I hit a ceiling. I never worked for a major company and I felt I needed that experience to become a better leader so I could grow my company.