You wake up one morning and you can't breathe. You get out of bed, you get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, give away 8 hours, drive home, then go to bed, only to repeat this cycle all over again.
It took me 4 years of suffocating; 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 2,000 hours a year, 8,000 hours of my life, to realize my 9 to 5 was killing me. For some, a 9-5 is the dream. It means financial freedom and success; it's how you survive in this world. For me, it was a prison. It took me 4 years to come to terms with my social conditioning; to gain the understanding that freedom is one of my most important values, and to break free. Once I did, I knew I could never go back to a cubicle.
For every one of us that crave freedom there is a doubter, screaming in our ear "THAT'S NOT HOW LIFE WORKS". They are our parents, friends, partners, employers; they are the people in our lives that want the best for us by projecting what's best for them onto us. They can make our path to freedom feel impossible. They create a climate where only the most dedicated freedom seekers press on. My goal with this post is not to bash the ones that love us, after all, in their minds all their dream crushing is coming for a positive intention. My goal, is to give logical steps on how to press on in the face of opposition and fear.
1) Figure out what you love. One of the main reasons I believe people get stuck into jobs and lives that they hate, is that they never allow space for themselves to figure out where their heart sits. We are all born with something to give. For me my calling is graphic design and teaching. It's up to you to figure out what gets your blood warm.
2) Stop telling yourself "It's too late!", "You're too old!", "You aren't talented enough!", etc. Let's say you know exactly where your passions rest. You think about what it would take to make it happen for yourself, then your inner voice starts talking to you. We are our own worse enemies sometimes. The little voice in our head is better at crushing our dreams than our parents could ever be. You have to learn to turn it off. This takes learning a very important skill, learning how to have faith in yourself. Once you master the skill of saying "Shut-up voice, I got this!", there is nothing in this world that can stop you.
3) Stop listening to the people that say "You can't", "You shouldn't", Are you crazy?!?", "That idea will never work". I listed this step third for a very important reason. When it comes to standing up to the naysayers, it will only work IF you have a strong sense of self. You have to know what you love even if you don't have a plan in the moment. You also need to have control of your inner voices. Even though your inner voice is self generated, it will be fueled by the negativity of others, if you let it. In the face of my biggest naysayer, my father, I simply said "HEY leave me alone, I got this! If i fail it's on me and it's a risk I'm willing to take". At the end of the day we are the masters of our lives. If we don't take charge of our paths, someone else will.
4) Do sweat the small stuff. Often times, when a person is working toward a big goal they become frustrated by the baby steps it takes to get there. They lose sight of the fact that little steps are a very important part of the process. With every step forward you make, celebrate it. With ever step backwards you make, don't ignore it, spend sometime sweating it, studying it and learn from it.
5) Keep trying, don't give up. You are going to fail...then fail....then fail again. I want you to accept that there is nothing wrong with failure. In fact, it's completely necessary. Failing doesn't live in failures, failing lives in not trying again. Use each failure to learn the necessary lessons for improvement, then try again. Always try again.
6) Don't get caught up in your success. You are going to succeed. It's may happen overnight, it may take a lifetime, but either way it goes, you will succeed. It's important to be aware there is a big difference between celebrating your success and allowing yourself to become overly confident and subsequently complacent. Becoming overly confident is dangerous. It is within this frame of mind that you can destroy everything you have worked to build. It's where trying stops. It's where complacency happens. Now don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with celebrating your successes. In fact, celebrating your successes, even tiny ones, is a very important part of the process. You just have to be mindful to never let it go to your head.
Freedom means different things for different people. For me it came down to having more control over how I spend my time. The steps I took in my life have led me to Northern California. I'm a lead professor, running my own department. I make my schedule. I feel free. I am also the owner of Isoism. I am free. I'm not sure where the future will lead, but I do know I will show up everyday, taking all my steps, large and small, working to achieve my dreams.