the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants
Synonyms – independence, liberty, self-determination
Why is freedom so cherished? What is it about this feeling of liberation that has led to some of the greatest acts of valor and bravery in history? There has to be something gloriously satisfying about “liberation” that causes human beings to be willing to put everything on the line in pursuit of it.
How much freedom are you currently experiencing in your life? The power of self-determination and choice of action – how often do you get to exercise these powers? Do you feel constrained and find yourself wishing for more freedom and autonomy?
During my time as an employee, I heard the phrase “wage slave” often being used by those who felt trapped in the day-to-day monotony of their careers. People who craved to have more freedom in what they did and how they did it but found themselves reluctantly toeing the line of their employers every day because they couldn’t conquer their fear of change. Freedom was just outside the boundary of their fear zone. They could see it from a distance and long for it, but they couldn’t move towards it, even a small step at a time.
“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life” – Bob Marley
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear” – Aung San Suu Kyi
“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul” – Moshe Dayan
Quotes like the above sound so inspiring, don’t they? But how many people can imbibe this inspiration and galvanize themselves into action? Because nothing changes unless you are prepared to change. And that means taking action.
One of the basic concepts in physics is inertia, which in simple terms means “the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged”. If you’re feeling a lack of freedom, nothing will change unless you overcome the inertia of your current situation. We often refer to this as “staying in your comfort zone”. But if you are not enjoying where you are and are experiencing frustration, boredom, anger, or any other negative emotion that disturbs you, how could it be your “comfort zone”? Where is the comfort?
Is freedom ever achieved without any effort? If the answer was yes, everyone would have it and it wouldn’t be such a valued commodity!
Freedom requires work, it requires action, it requires commitment. And the journey to your freedom begins with the will to change. Once the will is strong and the reasoning clear, the journey kicks into gear. Plans can be made, milestones set, and small steps implemented. Every step, however small, takes you that much closer to your goal of freedom. How that freedom looks is specific to you based on what gives you that feeling of liberation.
I know a person who has completed 55 years of service in a single company and still enjoys every day at work. He hasn’t changed his job not because he fears change but because he doesn’t need or seek change. And he feels liberated through his subject knowledge, work experience, and the quality of interactions with his colleagues and clients.
Let’s get back to your situation. Have a look at the following questions about your current job:
Do you feel undervalued, unappreciated, or bored on most days?
Do you often feel like you’re stuck in situations that are not of your making but have become your problems to solve?
Are you at a stage where you’re unsure and nervous about what lies ahead?
Do you feel sick of being a pawn in the game of company politics?
Despite all your previous achievements and successes, do you sometimes wonder how you ended up in your current situation?
Do you find yourself often wishing you were “somewhere else”?
If you answered “no” to all the questions – congratulations, you are free!!! Enjoy your freedom, value and appreciate it, and practice gratitude for your situation.
If you answered “yes” to even one question, it might be time to reconsider your options and make plans for a “jailbreak”. Trust me, it is not as difficult as it initially seems. I did it after 35 years of working in salaried jobs. Getting past that initial inertia is the most challenging part.
Thomas Fuller said, “All things are difficult before they are easy”. Well, I can vouch for this at least in the work arena. Once you get used to the idea that you are going to make a change, it starts to get easier as you make plans and execute them. As long as you don’t recklessly rush into anything but take measured, calculated steps instead, the journey to freedom is a ride smoother than you would expect.
Wishing all my American friends a very Happy Independence Day. Have a wonderful Holiday weekend and may your 4th of July be filled with cheer and blessings!!!