Have you ever observed an elephant at the zoo? Besides the obvious admiration for the massive animal, has it ever struck you how out of line it is to see it behind bars? I am not speaking as an advocate for animal freedom, even though it is one of my convictions not to amuse myself at the cost of another species, but rather as an advocate for true human freedom.
The parallel between the trapped animal and the unfulfilled human is very poignant. Both of them are robbed of feeling free. Only one of them has no choice, while the other thinks they have no choice. One is behind physical bars, and the other, in an imaginary prison of the self.
We are all equipped with unique tools that allow for a life of freedom. We have abilities, talents, skills and passion. And we have beliefs that are unique to us. All of these things are comparable to the uniqueness of an animal, even a tree.
Ask yourself what it is that makes an apple tree so successful and free to just be… It is the fact that it is an apple tree and nothing else. It does not try to force itself to bear pears or bananas. It simply executes what it was born to do: produce apples. You can try as hard as you want, but you won’t naturally convince an apple tree to be anything other than an apple tree.
We think we can force someone with the heart of an artist to become a corporate lawyer. There is no fulfillment, and certainly, no freedom to be found in this. Even if a great salary comes out of it, money should support our freedom, not be the reason we do something (but that’s another topic for another Thought Nugget).
So, why do we bend ourselves out of shape pretending to be something that is not natural to us? Because we are great at convincing ourselves that we can be “anything we want!” Wanting is a very dangerous thing. If the will had its way, then the world would be exactly the way it is right now… To want something that is not in line with who we are creates ultimate dissonance. It creates void, emptiness, competition, anxiety or worse.
When we see things in others that we want to copy because we think their lives or businesses are better for it, and we allow for that desire to try and reprogram who we are, we distance ourselves from our uniqueness and we start assembling the bars of our inner prison. There is no successful entrepreneurship to be had if you live in a golden cage.
I think it is time we become aware of what true freedom really is:
To be fully aware of and aligned with who we are, and to fearlessly bring our uniqueness into the world with our thoughts and our actions is the freest we will ever be. Anything else is just a smokescreen, a golden illusion, a projection of our short-lived desires.
Build organizations that are fueled by your desire to reach that ultimate degree of freedom. Build organizations that benefit from your unique skills, passion and beliefs. Build organizations centered around your true nature, not someone else’s. We have too much of the same thing already.