Big YOU, Brand YOU

LONGING FOR FREEDOM

30 July, 2020

In his book Good Work, the economic thinker E.F.Schumacher describes the ‘longing for freedom’ that has become so widespread in society today:

I don’t want to join the rat race. Not be enslaved by machines, bureaucrats, boredom, ugliness. I don’t want to be a moron, robot, commuter. I don’t want to become a fragment of a person.

I want to do my own thing. I want to live simply. I want to deal with people, not masks. People matter. Nature matters. Beauty matters. Wholeness matters. I want to be able to care.

This poetic manifesto of human aspiration, written in the 1970s, is one that resonates with many people today who feel unfulfilled by their jobs. I know this because when I ask people in my Big YOU workshops, “What does success look like … for YOU”, this is what people tell me.

How can you begin to satisfy your desire for ‘greater freedom’? I think it requires addressing three dilemmas, or challenges if you like.

First, whether you should opt for the security and stability of a salaried job, or embrace self-employment and invent your own job. After all, you are the CEO of your life.

Second, whether you should abandon the goal of making a (successful) living, and instead create a fulfilling life. People’s number 1 career regret is, “I wish I hadn’t worked for the money”. Make sure that’s not you.

And third, whether you should wean yourself off the hard-work ethic and stop filling up your time by being ‘busy’, and start being productive. Do stuff that matters. Do stuff that counts. And forget the rest, it’s all a waste of your precious time.

Is freedom a risky business? You bet it is. That’s why its called ‘freedom’.

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