These are a few things I've been thinking about this week (#37 2023)
On the essence of true freedom
A lion was born in a zoo.
He never had to worry about food.
Every day, many people visited him outside his small enclosure.
He felt a peculiar blend of comfort and discomfort.
For he knew he wasn't meant to live like this.
Intrigued by this feeling, he asked around and learned
that free lions inhabit the savanna.
There, they roam freely, hunting for food.
No two days are identical in that expansive playground.
And he began to dream of such freedom.
One day, societal views shifted, and the law changed.
The zoo had to release all animals into the wild, including him.
At last, he thought, I will experience true freedom!
Yet when released, he didn't enjoy it.
He felt paralyzed by what seemed like infinite freedom and opportunities.
A comfort tinged with discomfort.
No two days were the same, and he felt lonely.
If you must work that hard to eat, can you even call yourself free?
Years of struggle followed, but eventually, he adapted.
And he learned the essence of true freedom.
Working for yourself is challenging and requires many sacrifices. Not only the ones you make when you decide to go for it but all those you have to make as you recommit to staying independent.
Refrain from coming to solopreneurship or freelancing with too strong expectations about freedom. Experience it, and you will eventually learn the essence of it.
The present moment can set you free and imprison you
Being in the present means leaving worries behind. But it can also mean losing the desire to improve the situation.
It can distract us out of anxiety or hypnotize us into slavery.
We no doubt need to be in the present moment at times. That's how to enjoy life unfolding in front of you when you spend time with your kid or a loved one or enjoy any activity in a "flow" state.
But the concept of always being "living in the present" seems unrealistic at best and dangerous at worst. We create the future by dreaming about it. And we get pushed to action by suffering the tension between what is and what could be.
Background noise stress
Last weekend, my family and I decided to take a drastic rest day.
We stepped out from the connected world to focus on being together. No phone, no work. An initiative that was part of practicing the ancient tradition of Sabbath but updated to the modern times.
This was my first time being completely away from work for a full day in years. It seems ridiculous to write it as it was a big deal, but it truly was; I had not taken a day off in a long time.
I thought it would be hard not to work. It wasn't.
What I realized, though, is how I nearly constantly think about work. And when I say think, what I mean is worry. Most of these thoughts are work thoughts fueled with anxiety. I'm afraid of not knowing enough, not doing enough. I'm afraid things won't work how I hope they will. I'm afraid of running out of money.
I have been working for myself for longer than not. I don't remember carrying this background noise kind of stress from day one.
It's as if it developed and crept over time.
A while back, someone said: "If you are worrying 24/7 about work, you're not cut to be an entrepreneur." I keep thinking about this. I wouldn't be that radical, but we could rephrase it this way:
"Leveling up as an entrepreneur requires finding some detachment from your work."