The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca tells a story about Alexander the Great:
A country that Alexander planned to conquer offered him part of the territory as a concession. Alexander replied by saying he hadn’t come all the way to Asia to accept what they were willing to give up. Rather, came word from Alexander, they could keep what he left them. Ouch.
Likewise, Seneca himself said to be free, we must: “tell all other occupations, it’s not my intention to accept whatever time is left over from you; you shall have, instead, what I reject.”
That’s better, but here’s the thing…
Most people are not in a position to give whatever time they have left over. No, they have to accept whatever small amount of their time is left over from a job.
And that’s true of everyone who is not financially free – they don’t own their time.
And that’s probably one of the biggest consequences of not being financially free.
But there are other consequences.
Other costs that must be paid…
Other sacrifices a person makes…
…each day that they are not financially free.
They must do what they are told to do. I don’t know anyone who likes being told what to do. Simply put, when you have to do as you are told, you are letting others think for you. But many don’t have a choice. They are dependent on the income from their job, and therefore they have to take orders. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve found that there is a time, a place, and very often an event that triggers a hate of being told what to do and that becomes a strong motivator to be free. I think there’s an inherent quality of all people who are financially free – they don’t like to be told what to do. They have an utter disregard for what I call “occupational authority” – people arbitrarily placed in charge of their time. Those who have achieved financial freedom believe so strongly in the principle of freedom, that they’re willing to go to hell and back in order to be free. It is different when you are financially free: People who are financially free are the authority and don’t deal with those that think they are the authority.
Their health deteriorates. I’ll put this as straightforward as I can – stress kills. When I talk to people who work long, stressful days invariably they mention the ailments that they’ve developed: stress, high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic back pain, and TMJ (jaw clenching, teeth grinding). Our health is priceless. Ask yourself this question – every time you are sick, what would you give to feel better? You would give almost anything right? Every day you stay stuck in a job you hate, or a life you hate, is a day that your health deteriorates. Not being financially free results in a slow death. It is different when you are financially free: People who are financially free live a low-stress lifestyle. Their health is their priority, not a job. They focus on eating healthy, working out, and essentially being at ease in life.
They live in constant fear of being fired or laid off. Admit it, if you have a job don’t you always have a little bit of worry that you will come into work one day and be called up to HR to be let go? It’s just an annoying feeling. Businesses and the economy in general, are very cyclical. And when it comes time for belt tightening, it can be cutthroat. People are laid off by the tens of thousands each year, causing huge disruption in their lives. So, if they aren’t worrying about IF they will be laid off, they are worrying about what they will do NOW that they are laid off. The pressure never stops. It is different when you are financially free: When you are financially independent, you are in control of your financial destiny. They twisting winds of the economy and a business don’t bother you, because you are independent.
They are quicker to get angry and to let small things bother them. You know the people who are always on a knife’s edge? They are like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to go off about anything. Things bug them to no end. Someone cuts them off in traffic and their day is completely ruined. They go on and on about the idiot people in their work place, the economy, politics, and why their life hasn’t turned out the way they wanted. They are in a constant state of anger and resentment. They’ve chained themselves to misery. It is different when you are financially free: The small things and the small people don’t bother you anymore. They are beneath you. You relax more. You are like a duck – things just roll of your back. Life is good. You gain an entirely different perspective on life.
Accomplishing their big dreams gets much harder. When you first start out in life, it’s rare to be able to find time to work on your big dreams. The bills have to be paid first. So, the major life goals such as writing a book, starting a charity or travelling the world get postponed and postponed. And each year it gets harder and harder to actually accomplish any of your life’s major goals – there’s the mortgage, the kid’s college, maintenance on the house – until one day the bucket list is just abandoned altogether and the dreams fade. It is different when you are financially free: When you you are financially free everything suddenly becomes much easier. You have the money and time to do what you want, when you want. You can charter that sailboat to sail around the world…today. You can start that charity to leave your footprint on the planet…today. Your life goals become front and center.
They associate with people because they have to, not because they want to. When you are not financially free, you are forced to spend time with people you may not particularly like because you need their help on a project, because they are a co-worker and you have to get along with them or simply because they sign your paycheck. But here’s the sad truth – if you weren’t dependent upon these people for these things, they probably wouldn’t take-up air in your world. It is different when you are financially free: When you’re financially independent, you only associate with people because you enjoy their company, period. There are no forced relationships. You simply say NO to the toxic people in life.
They don’t stand up for what’s right. There’s a lot of wrongs in the world that go unchallenged because people are afraid of the repercussions. How many times have you bit your tongue because you were worried about the consequences? Know this – your pride wasn’t meant to be swallowed, nor where you meant to cower. It is different when you are financially free: When you are financially independent, you are more confident to speak your mind when you see an injustice because your survival doesn’t depend on a person or a company. Bullies need to be eradicated. It’s a wonderful feeling to never have to back down from anyone.
They care about what other people think. Caring less about what people think is Yin to the Yang of standing up for what’s right. Passive aggression, mental games, and jealousy are usually hurled by unsettled people who want what a financially free person has. They are insecure and hope to bring you down to their level so they can feel better about themselves. Without the solid, confident grounding of financial freedom, some people pander to these toxic people because they are afraid of not being liked. It is different when you are financially free: It feels liberating to distance yourself from those that are in their own little mental pits. There’s no desire to engage or respond to these people because you’re set. Showing neutrality or even sympathy for their condition, becomes the preferred response because you know how good you have it.
Becoming financially independent means that you no longer need to rely on a paycheck, that you are less stressed, and that you have more time to do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want.
When you are not free, you accept what is given to you. Are you going to settle for the left overs of life or will you be free?
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
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