How Commitment Sets You Free
Tl;dr: he who wants too much freedom cannot commit which prevents the building of social and financial capital that takes time and commitment to be solidly established.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. If you haven’t read 1984, these are the slogans of the main and only political party in the story.
But we are not talking about the shrinkage of democracy, the push back of civil liberties, or the slow death of freedom of speech in this article. We are talking about experiences and life lessons, building on the concept of freedom which, as free as it seems, will make you a slave if you want too much of it too soon.
Please read this article on the conceptualization of freedom before moving forward.
Recalling Choices and Introducing Commitment
Choices, as annoying as they are, are imperatives due to our incapacity to do or be at several places at the time. I like to speculate about the type of choices early humans had to make.
To move or not to move. To hunt or not to hunt. To kill or not to kill.
I suspect choices were motivated by the need to sleep, eat, reproduce, and overall, survive.
To think of it, cavemen had a very narrow range of choices due to their dependency on nature to thrive. The scarcity of food probably made hunting the main activity, a thing for which there wasn’t much of a choice.
You hunt, or you die. Or worse, you eat herbs and leaves and become vegan. Thanks, but no thanks. It was an evolutionary period, not a devolutionary one.
If food gave our cavemen the strength to survive and be free in the wild, it was the commitment to hunt that actually allowed them to do so.
As such, the freedom that our cavemen enjoyed was met with preconditions: being alive and sustaining that state.
To do so, cavemen had to make a commitment to themselves and to the members of their tribe without which they wouldn’t have been able to survive.
Things That Last Take Time to Be Built and It Takes Time to Build Things That Last
Jane is a 25-year old Danish girl who loves traveling and learning new languages.
She lived for 6 months in Brazil to learn Portuguese which she spoke quite well, then moved to Chile where she effortlessly learned Spanish in 3 months.
Afterward, Jane got a job in Japan where a two-year effort made her almost perfectly fluent in Japanese. Eventually, Jane went back to Denmark when she turned 30 and focused on developing a business for 10 years before selling it and retiring, having achieved the rank of multi-millionaire at 40 years old.
As she browsed the web to look for a new home outside of Denmark, Jane ended up on a Brazilian website and started reading it.
She quickly blenched.
She had forgotten all of her Portuguese! Maybe the Spanish version of the website could be easier to understand? Nope, it wasn’t either.
How about the Japanese one? Jane could recognize most of the characters but had forgotten a big chunk of them.
Jane suddenly realized that the little time she had invested into learning Portuguese and Spanish had not been sufficient to build some solid bases and that a decade after not speaking the languages, she had forgotten all of it, making the respective 3 and 6 months study trip useless.
The 2-year Japanese commitment, luckily, had left some foundations intact. However, it was Jane’s 15-year commitment that made her rich enough to pay for even the most expensive Portuguese, Japanese, and Spanish teachers which allowed Jane to fully dedicate her time to relearning languages.
Jane is now free, really free, and do whatever she wants. At 40 years old, she hasn’t crossed half of her life yet and has a good 45 years of freedom ahead of her.
That freedom was bought with a 15-year commitment.
Build Things That Last
I never really enjoyed cooking unless it was shared with friends because it was both repetitive and didn’t last in time.
Cooking had to be done repeatedly because hunger came repeatedly. I thought that if I could cook 80 or 90 cows and eat them all for a year to be done with eating for the rest of my life, I would.
But I can’t.
Opposed to cooking stood the idea of building a blog. I liked it because a blog article stands in time. When one article is written, it is written forever. The price for a blog that works though, is the commitment to building it.
And that…takes time.
Commitment Now = Freedom Later. Freedom Now = Slavery Later
One day someone said to me “there are two types of teachers: those that teach for twenty years, and those that teach one year twenty times”.
People that make the choice not to commit cannot build anything of value in time. Moving new place every 6 months like I have been doing for years did not increase my social circle: it reduced it.
I rarely see people I met a long time because I didn’t commit to these relationships as they moved around a lot. One of the side effects is that I have few people to talk about the past with, unlike my high school friends which have never moved.
The Sooner You Build Your House, the Sooner You Can Live Inside. the Higher the Quality, the Longest It Will Stand
We all want to be free but it is to be blind to think that freedom is free, because freedom has a price expressed in our society under the form of money, or assets.
She who does not build an asset, cannot be free. Building assets takes time, effort, sacrifice, and commitment, but the reward is a lifetime of freedom.
She who desires enjoying freedom without an asset cannot enjoy it fully, as she must take care of her own survival to a minimum extent (meaning working for money) which hinders freedom.
The Bottom Line
Commitment does not decrease freedom. It enhances it. Those that do not commit to anything end up financially and socially poor later in their lives.
Those that commit and manage to build solid foundations that last end up rich both financially and socially, having accumulated and taken care of all sorts of capital for years.
If you focus on committing to build things that last, you will build a future of freedom. If you commit to building things that do not last in time, you will not build anything. If you don’t commit to building anything at all, there won’t be anything to enjoy later.
To have freedom later is to say no to freedom now. Freedom now is slavery later. Commitment now is freedom later.
Which one will you choose?