Memorial Day is a good time to talk about freedom.
The climate today is not exactly one of gratitude, but if you can avoid being too caught up in politics, it’s easy to see that freedom and opportunity we enjoy today are absolutely remarkable.
Further, they were secured in large part due to the immense personal sacrifices of the brave men and women of the armed forces that Memorial Day is dedicated to.
Thanks to this, there is, in theory, little external limit to what you can do with your life.
You can quit your job whenever you want and/or start a new venture whenever you want
In practice, most of us have obligations and that can’t be met without money coming in, and it’s risky to leave a job unless another is lined up and certain, or unless you have significant savings or side income to give you breathing room.
However, job searching, and in some cases, preparation for job interviews, takes time and a lot of energy. So does setting up side income streams.
Unfortunately, if you’re worried about work, odds are you’re already working a lot, draining your time, and stressing a lot, which is probably burning any spare energy.
In practice, that means that these side efforts won’t happen, or will happen too slowly.
The problem becomes vastly worse if you’re looking to do something new – a career change or side project in an area you don’t have much experience in.
The time and energy required for these things is much, much greater.
So in practice, unless you have boundless energy or uncommonly good fortune, you can be effectively trapped until an external circumstance, like being laid off, forces your hand.
If that happens, you’ll suddenly have more of your day available, but your energy will probably take awhile to recover, and your time is only as long as it takes your expenses to burn through your savings.
Not a good position to be in.
The best way to avoid this is to carve out the time and energy to invest in yourself before you’re put in a desperate situation.
If you can focus, you can make progress regardless of stress at work or less-than-ideal energy levels.
Work worries are toxic because the not only make you less effective at your job (making a bad outcome more likely), but they occupy your mind, keeping you from planning, problem solving, and acting.
When you can focus, you can, at least for long enough to make progress, banish those worries and move forward.
This is magic.
Not only are you making progress towards more freedom and a better life, but the knowledge of this will automatically reduce worries and stress and give you more energy, thus improving everything else.
You could think of freedom as the ability to control your circumstances. Thought of this way, focus doesn’t just help you achieve more freedom, it IS more freedom.
You’re not completely free if your mind is dominated by worry.
You’re not free if you can’t act, even if your ability to act is blocked by internal rather than external factors.
I can’t directly do anything about your external circumstances, but I can do a lot to help you take control of your time, emotions, and energy.
When you start achieving that, your power over your circumstances, and therefore your freedom, will grow.
You live in a place and age of incredible opportunity that was secured at great cost.
Make the most of it.