At a street-side cafe in a coastal village a small business owner was telling me about the present tough economic conditions and how they were hitting his business. But what about your freedom? I asked him. “You’ve worked many years to reach the point where you are now,” I said. “You’ve got the freedom to decide how many hours to work a day, when to come in and when to leave work.”
He told me that he reminds himself that despite the economic difficulties he values his independence and freedom to run his business as he sees fit. He says that from time to time he has considered bringing in a business partner but this would possibly restrict his freedom.
Many business people often only attain real freedom when they retire. But often it’s too late. They don’t have the energy to start a new business of their own and sit around idle with too much time on their hands and as we’ve seen from the research entropy sets in rapidly. Yet a lot of people start from the bottom with very low amounts of freedom and gradually increase their freedom as they find work with better hours, improved remuneration and greater responsibility as well as discretion.
For me growing up in a neighbourhood where the mothers had to borrow cups of sugar and flour from each other when household budgets couldn’t make it to the month end, my freedom was to get my own paper route at age 13 years delivering the Cape Times to the homes of readers in Fish Hoek, Cape Town. Even though my paper round brought in a pittance, I saved at least 90% in a small savings book with Standard Bank in Kalk Bay. Fishing eventually gave me a part-time income during my school years and I was able to save money earned from catching snoek and yellowtail. Despite my meagre savings, I was able to use this money to make decisions already in my early 20s that would give me a little more freedom.
But there are other kinds of freedom that go beyond working hours receiving pay and doing the work that you enjoy. These freedoms include not being a prisoner of your circumstances, a captive of your mindset or a victim of your beliefs that act against your own best interests.
How much freedom do you think you deserve?
It seems like the answer depends on what self-imposed limit you have placed on yourself. If you have a scarcity mentality then your earnings will be curtailed by the limits you mentally place on it. You may also place boundaries or walls around what you can do with your life, what skills you can learn and your potential.
I saw story the other day about a woman who was a training manager for an insurance company whose husband retired and wanted her to retire too. They started a small publishing company together but this was unsuccessful financially. When her husband died, money started to run out quickly and she drew on her experience as a contributing astrologer to a media website for a number of years and started doing astrology readings and teachings. She’s also renting out parts of her house as a place of rest and refuge for people who are on a spiritual path.
You’ve just got to admire people like this pPeople who can reinvent, rewire and reimagine themselves. It’s a huge leap from training in an insurance company to astrology. You’ve also have to admire the courage that it takes to go into the unknown and unexpected and do what you love hoping that the rewards, including money, will follow.
I’m not encouraging anyone to try to achieve greater levels of freedom without responsibility.
No, no, no, not at all.
You can’t just make the leap without preparation or learning a new skill. You also need to know yourself very well – how far you can push yourself, how much determination you have and what sort of support network you can rely on.
Freedom, says Dr Wayne Dwyer, is the absence of restrictions. “Abundance in humans can only come about when the mind of mankind is likewise uncluttered by imagined limits. Learning to rid ourselves of the freedom-defying belief in limits is one way to create an abundant world for ourselves.”
Have you recently examined the outer limits of your world or business to see if there is any opportunity for you to do something beyond your current circumstances? Two guys I know recently did and they’ve started a small bakery inside a department store, a totally new venture to what they already separately have. This opportunity would not have presented itself had they not freed their minds of restrictions and come up with this new business concept.