The Daily Stoic for March 11th. “Living Without Restriction”
“The unrestricted person, who has in hand what they will in all events, is free. But anyone who can be restricted, coerced, or pushed into something against what they will is a slave.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 4.1.128b–129a
Today’s stoic argues that rich and successful people have traded their freedom for success, and are prisoners of their obligations. They need to wear a suit, talk to people they hate or do things they dislike…
While this is true, this argument misses an important point: most people out there face the same lack of freedom. Rich or not. If you work in a corporate environment, at an office or for a company, that’s what you get.
Employees have to suck up to their boss, laughing at jokes they don’t find funny. They have to get on well with teammates they hate. They have to wake up early in the morning, get into their cars and endure a long traffic jam to get to a grey office…
Money doesn’t make a difference here.
Freedom Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With Money
I mentioned it earlier on the Daily Stoic, Jan 23rd. The Truth About Money. For me, freedom, like happiness, doesn’t have anything to do with money:
For me, being rich is not about having money, it’s about having time. Money comes and goes, but our time is limited. Every minute we waste is lost forever.
This time -and freedom, I should add- are the result of our conscious choices in life. It’s not an event, something that suddenly changes your life. It’s the sum of a lot of small and big decisions, like quitting a job you hate, sharing your life with the person you love, doing something that fulfills you, or hanging out with people that add value to your life.
Money actually makes things easier in my mind. I don’t think money introduces any obligation or coercion into the equation that you don’t have when you are broke.
Living Without Restriction
I’ve been broke, and I’ve had a steady job -a very well paid one, actually-. I’ve gone from having nothing to a big car, big house, and a lot of money to spend. Finally, I’ve been miserable working at a cubicle for years…
And recently I’ve found myself living with one fifth of the money I used to. I live in a small flat with just the things I need… all of them easily fitting inside a suitcase.
I do what I love, I am a blogger and entrepreneur, I have my company in Estonia, and I can confidently say that I feel free, happy and fulfilled. And as I mentioned, I earn a lot less money.
So in my mind, as long as you have your basic needs covered, money can be safely removed from your life equation.
Today’s stoic, “Living without restriction”, argues that rich and successful people have traded their freedom for success, and are prisoners of their obligations. They need to wear a suit, talk to people they hate or do things they dislike…
While this is true, this argument misses an important point: most people out there face the same lack of freedom. Rich or not. In this article, I discuss how money is not that important as we usually think it is.