The Freedom Trap of Entrepreneurship. And, you know, life.

According to Oxford, freedom is defined as:

“The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.”

Freedom was always my biggest motivator in life—the holy grail. I didn’t want to take shit from anybody. Complete independence is what I was after. To be bound by nobody. To answer to no one. Emotional freedom. Financial freedom. The whole shebang. Full stop. Fuck you. Period. That kind of freedom…

The Oxford dictionaries version of freedom.

Now, I’ve done some dumb shit in my life. I once emailed my Dad by accident telling him how good and cheap a certain mind altering substance was in Argentina. And not even that compares to just how dumb my aspirations for complete freedom were.

For me, freedom was more important than wealth, relationships, experiences, and respect. Because it encompassed it all. And if I could achieve it, nothing else would matter. I’d have won the game of life.

But freedom isn’t free…

It comes with a hefty price tag. A burden many have no interest in paying. And a price they often find out too late.

Are you driven by a desire to be free?

You’re not on your own. Freedom is sold everywhere. We all want it—this perfect life painted for us by somebody selling something.

And that’s fine. However, the consequences of buying into it all can often be severe.

Nowhere is the desire for freedom more evident than in the rise of entrepreneurship. Or whatever you want to call it? Every kid and his fiddle wants to be one.

In the ’80s, it was trippin’. Today, entrepreneurship appears to be the ultimate ticket for freedom seekers.

Ironically, this mass desire for freedom appears to be enslaving more than it frees. Anxiety, depression, and suicide growth aren’t too far behind Bitcoins resurgence.  And the risk quadruples for entrepreneurs.

Yes, within this desire for freedom, we have found ourselves in yet another mental health crisis within a mental health crisis…

It would appear the pursuit of freedom falls within the realm of the insufferable pursuit of happiness. The more you chase it, the less likely you’ll be to get it. Because the focus is on the dream—not the reality.

You have to suffer for your freedom. And we don’t want to suffer. We want it all. And we want it now.

This isn’t necessarily your fault…

Every time you log in to Facebook, you are inviting some prick with a virtual AK 47 to fire bullets at your brain with deadly messages that bypass all rationale and head straight for the dumb part where fairy tales are formed.

The messages are telling you the only way you can live an extraordinary life is by becoming an entrepreneur, which — apparently — is easy, thanks to the Internet.

The irrational mind is quick to jump on board, because who wants to be a dumpster diver when you could be making a YouTube video of yourself showcasing your mansion and posy of big titty girls in Beverly Hills?

I’m not sure why so many “successful” entrepreneurs feel the need to subtly — or not so subtly — tell others how they should live their life? What’s right. What’s wrong. Who’s a minion. Who’s not. To follow them and be a Jedi. Or to work for others and remain a loser.

Obviously, I’m jealous, and I’m not talking about them all, but many appear to grow a penis on their head after they make their first million, stand on their throne, and preach to all that if you don’t want to live a life of slavery, you need to become an entrepreneur.

And what’s the opposite of slavery?

You guessed it: Freedom.

What pisses me off about this model is that for one person to be “successful,” thousands are left miserable. And if greed weren’t so prevalent, millions more would be happy.

Yes, there are unicorns in this world. And I’m not here to piss on your dream. Go for it. Chase your dream. But keep your expectations in check. Unicorns are a rare breed. And they rarely set out to become one.

Freedom is what’s being sold. Do what you love and never work a day in your life…

“Look at me, I’m sitting on a beach in the tropics, completely free as I work from the Mac I forgot to turn on while my motherboard gets fried.”

You’ve got to start seeing it for what it is: Bullshit.

There will always be a price to pay for your freedom…

Emotionally, the more you focus on the external as opposed to the internal, the greater that price will be.

True freedom is found in true presence, and true presence is rare.

Some of the happiest people I know happen to work for someone else. They have a job they don’t necessarily love, but they certainly don’t hate. It challenges them enough, but not too much that it surpasses their stress threshold. There are few assholes in their life, and while they might not own a superyacht, they earn more than enough to not deal with the significant emotional stress that comes with a lack of finances.

Their life is full of experiences which many studies suggest to be the meaning of life—if we are to use happiness as an index for success. And I guess freedom?

I’m going to go ahead and call it an emotion. The same way happiness is fleeting, so too is freedom. Therefore, by accepting freedom as fleeting, the more you will likely experience it.

The more experiences you collect, the better your life will be. The better the people in your life, the better your life will be.

So why do we continually set ourselves up for failure? Why are our goals so black and white?

This is where society has swept in and fucked us all up. And, of course, we do a splendid job in helping society out. We keep taking the bait and clicking on toxic messages delivered by those who only have their best interests at heart.

And then what happens? Stress. On a massive scale. Which too often results in a life not lived.

Working for yourself might not be for you. Embrace it. That’s amazing. It should be celebrated. You should never allow anyone to make you feel bad for it. Or tell you that you’ll never be extraordinary because of it.

All this ordinary, extraordinary talk is bullshit. Are you enjoying your life or not? Ordinary is a word deliberately used to put you down.

Some of the most stressed out people I know are entrepreneurs. Financially free but emotionally enslaved. Or both financially and emotionally enslaved.

With every success they continue to chase, they struggle to see how this further enslaves them. They’ve given up their identity to an ideology. They’re not busy living. They’re busy postponing. That is until the next thing gets done.

It’s a trap. You’ll never be done. Our minds are programmed to constantly challenge us. We always have to grow. Otherwise, we die. To grow we need a challenge. In essence, every time we break free, we will find a new challenge to entrap us once again…

I’d argue this is a good thing. As long as we are aware and don’t get too caught up in it. It prevents life from becoming boring. It keeps it interesting. And ensures we keep fighting for those freedom tickets which allow us to experience for a minute what it’s likely to be truly free.

For me, the research keeps coming back to people and experiences. And dogs. Seriously, what is the matter with you if you don’t have a dog?

These are my freedom tickets. The more experiences and the better relationships I have, the better my life will be.

Don’t fall for the trap. There is always a price to pay for freedom. Maybe it’s entrepreneurship for you. Maybe it’s not. But you better ask yourself, what’s the price you’re willing to pay?


Dojo Bali is a coworking space located on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. Dojo Canggu is open 24/7 and located at Echo Beach, Canggu offering a collaborative and relaxing coworking environment. New locations are coming soon. Stay tuned to find out where the next Dojo will be set up.

Dojo Bali is a Registered Trademark and under license of PT Mintox, Indonesia
PT Dojo Bali Coworking Registration No: AHU-3570685.AH.01.11.TAHUN 2015