The paradox of freedom

I have always been petrified of being stuck in a corporate cubicle in a 9 to 5 job. Even though I have worked in startups for over 5 years, there was always some element of flexibility involved.

I do see the point of working out of the office. In the right environment, you can progress faster with the mentorship of others in the corporate world.

However, something about sacrificing my freedom to climb on a corporate ladder placed against the wall of status never appealed to me.

I realized that freedom is one of my core values very early in my career. I got a glimpse of the typical office culture during a 2-month internship in my third year of engineering. At the end of that internship, I was confident that I could not spend my time working like that.

It was in that period only that the bug of personal development hit me. In one of these books, I had come across the values exercise. During that exercise, I had written freedom on top of the list. Over the years, it has retained its spot and led me to make some unconventional choices.

When you think of freedom, you think of certain common things.

It usually means being able to do anything you want. It means you can follow your heart and chase your curiosities. It means you don’t have to conform to society and the herd mentality.

But there is one thing that I initially did not anticipate while pursuing freedom- Discipline.

It sounds counterintuitive but discipline is the key to unlocking freedom.

Both need to coexist with one another. Without discipline, freedom can lead to chaos.

If I have to make my own path, I need energy, focus, and dedication to try out different things. I need to be resilient in the event of a failure which is a natural outcome of walking a path of your heart.

Discipline acts as an anchor for these situations.

It also prevents you from being fickle-minded. Because being able to do anything you want does not mean you do everything. You need the discipline to stay focussed. You need constraints to come up with creative solutions.

This is the paradox of freedom.

To be free, you need the discipline to stay true to yourself and your values.


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