There's a dangerous, slippery slope to freedom that slinks around under our noses.
I know what it feels like to be free. To take that breath of fresh air without a collar fastened around your neck.
However, if we're not careful with how we make use of our freedom, we can end up becoming undisciplined, lazy, and careless.
The Cost of Freedom
When your behaviors and actions are controlled and moderated by two overbearing tiger parents, it's easier not to slip up because you're simply doing what you're told to do.
However, once you become an independent adult free of your cuffs and chains, there's no longer someone there who tells you what to do.
What you're left with is yourself, left to your own devices.
It's easy to indulge in the freedom that comes with being an adult, but there is a cost to your freedom if you're not careful with how you handle it.
For example, take a look at the picture below.
Let's say you learned from a very young age that you love bacon.
Your parents, in their quest to give you a healthy, balanced diet, do not only feed you bacon for three meals a day. They give you some veggies, fruits, proteins...you know, the works.
As time passes, you grow up and eventually graduate into adulthood. You head off to college and without the oversight of your parents, you go to the grocery shop by yourself and while you're there, an epiphany breaks down the door of your mind and infiltrates it:
Wait, I can buy as much bacon as I want?
You buy several packs of bacon in one sitting, and because you love bacon so much, you gorge yourself on it that night.
You go to sleep satisfied, promising yourself that with your newfound freedom, you're going to eat bacon to your heart's content.
Ironically, unchecked consumption of cholesterol in bacon won't be good for your heart.
Thus, your heart and your health begin to decline over time as you begin to neglect your basic nutritional needs and ravenously feast on bacon for the majority of your diet.
Your use of freedom has demonstrated a lack of discipline when it comes to maintaining a balanced diet, as well as a lack of responsibility to maintain good health.
But if that alone didn't concern you, there are other potential sinister costs to freedom as well.
Time in the Drain
I talk quite a bit about time in my recent content, but time is such an underrated concept that I think we don't talk enough about.
I have a personal example to give about the cost of freedom when it's left unchecked.
I've written about my former struggle with gaming and how I lost years of my time being parked behind my desk.
I was essentially a slave to my freedom.
Granted, my love for video games was squashed under the iron boots of my parents growing up, so when I tasted freedom in my adult life, gaming was what consumed most of my free time.
However, I left this passion for gaming unchecked and I ended up squandering my free time for years.
Now you might say: "Hey, doesn't everything in life take time to do?"
You'd have a point, but I've also previously made a distinction between time that is spent and time that is lost.
It's more so a personal distinction than a literal one, but time that is well-spent on things like building a business on something you care about, spending time with your loved ones, or taking care of your kids is, well, spent.
In this case, time that is used for activities carelessly without contributing to your overall progress is lost. Things like endlessly gaming, partying, or binging shows.
We all have a right to leisure and it's not necessarily a bad thing to indulge in things that are fun and make you happy, but when you lack discipline to the extent that I did with my out-of-control gaming habit, you end up losing your time.
How to Be the Boss of Freedom
You gotta take freedom by the reins and show it who's boss.
When you're in charge of your freedom, however, you'll get to reap the benefits of being free while also not neglecting other important factors in your life.
Keeping your freedom in check comes with benefits like:
- Maintaining healthy relationships with proper devotion and care.
- Indulging in your pleasures without losing time.
- Taking better care of your health.
- Being able to plan fun vacations and trips without falling behind in work.
You have to recognize that as an adult, you have responsibilities that you have to juggle, such as your health, family, and pleasure.
These responsibilities are what make the clock of your life tick. So, even with all the time in the world, you can't just forget about them.
Understand that if you neglect these responsibilities, things will fall apart. Your health could deteriorate, your relationships could suffer, and you could end up wasting your time.
If you're having trouble managing your freedom, you could take out a pen and piece of paper and write down the list of things that matter most to you in your life.
- Maybe you have a lovely girlfriend who you want to see at least once a week. Write that down.
- Perhaps you have a guild of close friends you play World of Warcraft with and raid with two nights a week. You can write that down too.
- Then, you have work. You have to sleep. You have to eat. You have all these other things you have to do too.
Once you have completed this list, take out a calendar and allocate tasks for your specific days, Monday to Sunday. Having this guideline to follow can help you make better use of your time and freedom.
You might think that planning your week out in advance would go against the spirit of freedom, but I'd like to counter with this:
I just don't want you to become a slave to freedom. I know firsthand the consequences of when one does so.
I wasted years. My health went down and I got out of shape. I didn't see meaningful progress in the ways that truly mattered in life. Career-wise, health-wise, relationship-wise.
Don't make the same mistakes I did.
Own your freedom, no matter how sweet it might taste to give it the wheel.