The freedom we truly seek
"The real you is still a little child that never grew up. Sometimes that little child comes out to play [...] and these are the happiest moment of your life-- when the real you comes out, when you don't care about the past and you don't worry about the future [...] The freedom we are looking for is the freedom to be ourselves, to express ourselves. But if we look at our lives we will see that most of the time we do things just to please others, just to be accepted by others, rather than living our lives to please ourselves. That is what happened to our freedom [...]
The worst part is that most of us are not even aware that we are not free. There is something inside that whispers to us that we are not free, but we do not understand what it is and why we are not free.
[...] There is no reason to suffer. With awareness you can rebel and say, "This is enough!" You can look for a way to heal and transform your personal dream [...] Your life is a manifestation of your dream; it is an art. And you can change your life anytime if you aren't enjoying the dream..."
The above quote is taken from one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. As I hopped on the 117 bus from Piazza di Popolo in Rome, Italy (where I used to work) and rode halfway home to Piazza Venezia, I read this passage over and over again. We live our lives not to please ourselves but to please others and the very freedom we seek, the one that we reference constantly as being something of adolescence, is the freedom to be who we are and do what we want.
While most people I think would agree with the idea that we wish we could act and do as we wish, I think the majority of the discord would come from whether or not people think it's plausible. And I argue on the far left on this one. I believe it is not only totally possible but necessary for the evolution of mankind as a species.
There is no greater suffering than to bare the cross that who you are is insignificant or unworthy. It leaks into all aspects of your life and acts like a poison.
If your work in the world is to climb the mountains of your life, then the lessons learned in each step are meant to unveil the true you. To peel away the layers of debris formed over the years.
But more than anything I think there's a real gem pertaining to innovators and creators of all sorts. Entrepreneurs and people aspiring to create their own businesses often look at "the product of the day" and chase that. Whether it's feathers for your hair, gold, real estate or the next angry bird app, people think that the business lays in what's "hot".
The truth , and what every successful business person knows, is that money can be made from almost anything that provides value, which is liberating. It means that you get to choose how you make money and pick a business model and lifestyle that suit you.
If we could get over ourselves long enough to realize that the point of life is to be happy and to be in service of others, we might actually pursue what we really want and give up the act of this dream as Ruiz puts it. Paul Graham sums it up pretty well here when he says, "Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige [...] If you do anything well enough, you'll make it prestigious."
So instead of imposing upon yourself a specific archetype or validating yourself or appeasing your parents, why not pursue what you really want? Climb your mountain, not someone else's?
How's that for a thought?
And instead of telling me no, that's not possible for me because of x, y, and z, how about you humor me for a few seconds and envision how potentially different your world would be if that were the case?
What do you think?