skip to Main Content

Freedom Through Sacrifice

Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

There are two ways to be free: You can be free from something or you can be free for something.

The first way is about being liberated from constraints.

The second way is about having the ability to create a result that matters to you.

If you hate your boss, for instance, you can be free from your boss by quitting your job.

If you enjoy playing the piano, however, you can only be free to do so if you take the time to master the basics.

The first kind of freedom is usually obtained by walking away from an unpleasant situation, but the second form can only be obtained by putting in the time and effort necessary to develop a difficult skill.

I had a friend back in college who played on the football team. Whenever we’d hang out, I would eat candy and fast food. He never joined me in my indulgences. As a scholarship athlete, he wasn’t allowed to eat that kind of stuff. At the time, I considered myself to be more free than him because I was free to eat whatever I wanted. I possessed no dietary constraints. Whenever Saturdays would come around, however, my other friends and I would go to the games to watch him play. He was phenomenal. He was able to do all sorts of fun and amazing things on the football field precisely because he chose to honor the constraints that made it possible. Because he sacrificed his freedom from dietary restrictions, he was able to experience the freedom of mastery.

Here’s what I learned from my friend: The freedom to avoid discomfort isn’t always the same as the power to make something happen. And in order to experience the latter, sometimes you have to sacrifice the former.

As Michael Card wrote. “It’s hard to imagine the freedom we find from the things we leave behind.”

Sometimes the best way to transcend your constraints is by taking on some new ones.

Do You Really Deserve to Question Your Own Worthiness?

Photo by @kasuma from

There’s a voice inside your head telling you that you’re not worthy enough.

“You’re not worthy enough to try” or “You’re not worthy enough to make that kind of money” or “You’re not worthy enough to do that kind of work” or “You’re not worthy enough to live the life you want to live.”

Most people will tell you to push past that voice, to have the courage to defy it. Others will tell you to refute that voice, to use the power of logic to prove to yourself that you actually are worthy.

I propose an agnostic approach. Instead of trying to ignore or contradict the voice that’s saying “you’re not worthy”, concede the possibility and move on. That is, be open to the idea that none of us are worthy of anything including the very fact of our existence.

Before you were born, were you worthy of being born? How could you have been worthy of receiving the gift of life when you didn’t even exist yet? What exactly did you create or achieve before you were conceived to get to a point where you deserved to exist?  Maybe life is a gift that we receive not because we deserve it, but because we live in a universe of abundance and possibility.

Instead of carrying around the burden of justifying what life has inspired to you long for, why not give yourself permission to be who you are and to want what you want simply because the universe allows room for it?

Besides, even if you’re not worthy to have the kind of life you want, what makes you think you’re worthy of dismissing the possibility without first giving yourself a chance to find out through personal experience? If you’re unworthy of the former, wouldn’t you also be unworthy of the latter? If you’re not worthy of life and all its goodness, then how did you somehow become worthy to question life and all its goodness?

The question of worthiness is irrelevant because you don’t need to be worthy in order to step up and share whatever it is you have to offer. Life may very well be a stage, but it’s not an audition. You’ve already been giving the part of “you” whether you deserve it or not, so you might as well let the world feel the impact of who you are.

The next time your inner voices asks “Are you worthy enough to do that?” just turn within and say “Dear inner voice of resistance, is that question truly worthy of an answer?”

What would you dare to do if you stopped having debates about who deserves to do it?

Having a Point is the Starting Point

Purpose precedes productivity.

Before you pour yourself into a bunch of hard work, form a coherent concept of what you want and get clear on why it matters to you.

As Simon Sinek says “start with why.”

“Why” is different from “what.”

“What” is about the thing you think you’re supposed to do. It’s about finding the right answers so you can do what you’re told.

“Why” is about the element that brings meaning to your activities. It’s answer that no one can tell you because you have to make it up.

Instead of obsessing over the illusion of a single correct choice, focus on what aligns with your priorities and principles.

And instead of hustling just to hustle, get clear on what you’re hustling towards and how that fits with your personal mission.

You don’t need to have all the answers before you begin, but you do need to know what the point of beginning is.

Knowing What to Do Is Secondary

Knowing what to do isn’t necessarily a better situation to be in. It could be a symptom that you’re too comfortable with the familiar, that you’ve organized your life around routines and relationships that don’t challenge you anymore. And if that’s the case, perhaps you’re better off seeking a situation where you don’t know what to do.

“I don’t know what to do” is a statement that deserves credit for its honesty, but it’s not an excuse for hiding.

Being a person of vision isn’t about having a clear set of guidelines and guarantees for every important scenario. It’s about being committed to your principles even if you’re unsure about where that leads or even if you’re unclear about how to make the proper adjustments.

Sometimes you get the luxury of finding an answer, but not always. Sometimes you have to step up and create your own road map.

The most rewarding decisions often come with a responsibility to improvise.

You’re Always Ready to Begin Where You Are

Photo by _willpower_

“Readiness” is nothing more than the combination of willingness, honesty, and deliberate practice.

It’s the willingness to step up and give your best effort even if it’s not equal to someone else’s best.

It’s the honesty to share what you have to offer without feeling the need to overpromise on a bunch of things you know you can’t deliver.

It’s the commitment to treating every performance as an opportunity to get feedback on how you can improve the quality of your practice.

Readiness is never absolute. At every moment, you’re ready for some things and unready for others. But you always have a level of readiness that you can act on.

When you do what you’re ready to do right now, you acquire experiences that make you ready to do the things that are out of your league.

Respecting current readiness expands future readiness.

The readiness to handle what happens in the middle comes from respecting your readiness to start at the beginning.

Back To Top