A choice bestowed upon most of us more than ever is the one concerning the paths we want to take in life. There are really two — one is to live on one’s own terms, and one is to live on terms of others. The former is filled with challenges, risk, and difficulties; the other one is replete with comfort, and easiness. Bullshit aside, the difference is really one between SECURITY and FREEDOM.
The choice, isn’t very clear for most. As a matter of fact, choosing a life of security, at the outset “seemingly” seems more free than the one of freedom. Just like most shiny objects in life, this too is a farce. Allow me to explain.
Let’s take the example of the life of the rich and famous. There are really two ways to achieve it. One is to buy Lamborghinis, million dollar mansions, and private jets on a loan (bad debt). The other is to work your ass off, pull all-nighters, forgo social events, and being “cool” and obtain actual assets to buy these goods yourself. To no surprise, one way is EASY the other is fucking HARD, and to no surprise — 9.999/10 people are going to choose the former.
The real difference between the two however, is that by going into bad debt, you end up literally working for those who lent you the money. And you know what? The world encourages you to get into bad debt. You can easily get a loan on a house you cannot pay off within 30 years. And look in your mailbox. Is that another pre-approved credit card? It’s the third one this week. There are lots of people who ‘look rich’ but they are in major debt. I ask you, ‘Are they free?’ They will be working for the bank and car companies to repay the debt with most of the days from their life.
This analogy extends to real life. Most people sacrifice their dreams to only live a life of bad debt. Just like a house of cards, it’s never built on a strong foundation.
Let’s use the following as a trajectory:
- Childhood Friends
- Settled in relationship
- Works 9–5
- Family Loves you.
- Same Friends
- Popular among same crowd
- Still settled in same relationship or grieving her dumping you
- Still working 9–5
- Family loves you
- No friends, left most of them behind.
- Dumped/No Girls.
- Not liked. Social outcast. Guilted by society.
- Transitional, sometimes jobless.
- Family thinks he is a loser and won’t amount to anything
- Many new friends
- Many Girls.
- Extremely hated or extremely loved
- Got the Job/Started the company that he dreamt about
- Family loves you.
Initially, the man on the Freedom path seems to be a loser, but it is he who wins in the end. For he owes nobody anything. The pain the man on the freedom path feels is initially high, but gets LESS over time, while the pain felt by the man on the security path is minimal at first but accumulates over time, one that he has to pay back with interest during the later years of his life when his body is weak and his mind is fading.
The poor soul either suffers or lies to himself: i.e. “I have done the honorable path.” But you did not honor your dream and so committed treason against your Gift.
Perhaps we should remember the analogy of a medicine shot. The shot is initially painful, as was the shock of many of the things you’ve learned here. Taking action and embracing your dreams, rather than ‘securities’, is initially hard but it gets easier in the same way the shot is painful but soothes over time. Those who did not take the shot ran into disease later in life. For those that did, each day gets more wonderful and brighter, rather than more melancholy and darker.
Here is another parable. A young man was mad that his current days of life were frustrating and hard. “Rotten Nature!” he raged and shook his fist at the sky. “How unfair you are!” But Nature replied, “Foolish youth! This ‘pain’ and ‘frustration’ is merely my discipline. As you know, you cannot take joy in this pain. But know that those who humble themselves to the ways of life will find the discipline cease as you learn my ways and the fruits of life shall become available. Until you learn your lessons, I will continue to deliver discipline.”
- Strength & Honor
The Freedom Paradox: We must go through bitter waters before we reach the sweet. was originally published in AZOTH on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.