Freedom means autonomy.
And autonomy means freedom from external control or influence.
The fewer obligations you have, the more free you are.
To discover where freedom can be expanded, look at what constricts freedom.
Look at the obligations in your life, such as work, bills, and desires (which often lead to more bills).
Imagine if you didn’t pay rent, buy food, or indulge in stuff.
How much would you need to work with no expenses?
Or rather, how free would you be?
This is an extreme example to drive home the point that freedom, or the lack thereof, hides in your expenses.
Below is the video version of this article.
The video and article are quite different from each other, so I recommend you read/watch both.
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The article continues below.
The endless spiral
The more stuff you buy, the more liabilities you acquire, and those liabilities need feeding and maintaining, which in turn requires that you spend more hours of your life working.
So liabilities constrict freedom, while assets expand freedom.
Assets put money in your pocket, while liabilities do the opposite.
It always made sense to me that the less I spend, the more freedom I have. And not only that, the fewer expenses I have, the less stress there is to maximize the profitability of my business, which tends to lead to more success.
Sometimes there’s not much we can do to increase our income, but we can often downgrade, downsize, and eliminate expenses.
This all requires the willingness to go your own way, and say no to the illusion of status, fame, and identifying with objects.
The larger the gap between your income and your expenses, the larger your freedom.
With this freedom, choices open up, such as the ability to choose a job you enjoy, even if it has lower pay.
This isn’t about eliminating every luxury
It’s about being more precise with your spending.
As the gap between income and expenses grows, you may find that you have surplus cash. This is where investing comes in, which simply means the gradual expansion of your assets.
Expand your assets, and you expand your freedom. You become less reliant on work, because assets increase cashflow. It becomes a never-ending spiral to the land of enjoyment. It can also become another prison of chasing security, so balance is needed.
More people don’t do this because it requires introspection and delayed gratification. You need to face your insecurities and fears. We already know we should spend less, but we don’t. Why? We operate on automatic pilot. We don’t challenge our minds and our desires.
It goes against our instincts to save. Spending comes naturally.
“I could die tomorrow,” says the mind.
Easy choices today become hard choices tomorrow
If any of this makes you feel hopeless, remember that perfection is not required.
You always start where you are with what you have, no matter how desperate your situation seems to be.
You can only do your best, which is all that is required.
And perhaps the best place to start is to explore questions like these:
- What do I truly value and need?
- What expenses can I eliminate?
- Where can I downgrade and downsize?
- What kind of life do I want to live?
Freedom is having the autonomy to do what you want, when you want.
We can’t have 100% autonomy, even if we have a billion gold coins, but we can move the slider just a bit closer toward freedom.
You can make this a game, instead of a chore. You can apply creativity.
There are many nuances hiding in this topic. Your situation will be unique to you, which means that you have to do what you can with what you have.
In this article I wanted to highlight the importance of expenses, and how smart frugality can lead to more freedom.
When you minimize obligations, you increase freedom, although remember that some obligations are worth having.
There’s always a balance to be struck.
All the best,
P.S. Would you like to learn more about doing what you love? Check out my book Do What You Love: Essays on Uncovering Your Path in Life.
Image by Jimmy Moon