Saturday, October 06, 2012

What does freedom mean to you?

Adam Baker suggests that if you sell off all your crap and pay off your debts, you can do what you love -- he shares his story here in this 20 minute TEDx presentation that I've also embedded below.

I find myself questioning more and more the same logic that Baker goes through myself.  Looking back at the education system, it's designed to train you to work in factories, to push you into a system that doesn't really seem to work anymore.  There is no secret commandment that says you have to go into debt for houses or cars or finance anything.  Certainly it's easier and made as easy as possible for you to finance things and go into debt, but that is very much the point.

There are lots of interesting stories about lifestyle creep (i.e., the more you make, the more you spend, and then you reset the minimum amount you have to make to "survive") and about the leveraged situations that people put themselves in (i.e., you have to make "x" amount of money to support all your debts and your lifestyle choices, so you trade happiness in what you do for a paycheck).

There's a problem, of course, with these lines of thinking and that is that the system is set up to "reward" those that play within the rules.  It's harder to drive the new, cool car if you don't lease it or finance it; it's harder to live in the cool house if you don't mortgage it.

I can tell you, however, from personal experience, that it's really not that hard if you put your mind to it.  And once you figure out how to work outside the typical system, you'll find that you're having more fun and you start to care less about the "things" that the system tells that you should have.  What you will realize is that you have significantly more flexibility, significantly more freedom of action.

What's funny is that I started in the same way that Adam suggests that everyone can: with the crap around the hours.  How much does the crap you have sitting around limit your freedom?

Grab a trash bag and make a start.  See where it takes you.

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