When you have a comfy job and routine-driven life, just slowly chipping away at The Big Dream™, whether that dream is a happy family, high-impact job, or generational wealth, it’s easy to imagine “more” would be the solution to all your problems. More money. More time. More freedom.
“If I could play with my kids all day, I’d be set.” “If I was the CEO of this company, I’d be set.” “If I had $10 million, I’d be set.” That’s an illusion. Whatever the specific thing is of which “more” seems to be the answer to every problem, often, it ultimately boils down to more freedom. The freedom to spend your time how you want. The freedom to buy things and experiences. The freedom to live where you want and make your body do what you want it to do.
Actually, you don’t need more freedom. If I could snap my fingers and make your dream come true, I guarantee you: You’d enjoy it for a week, or two, or even a month — and then you’d start wasting it. You’d realize playing with your kids all the time is fun but not fulfilling. You’d wish you could drop the responsibility of being CEO for a day. You’d run out of things to buy and still have no more meaning in your life than you did before.
No, freedom won’t solve your problems. But pockets of freedom will make your problems seem less pressing. A pocket of freedom is like a bubble of air underwater: It won’t get you to the surface, but when oxygen is tight, it’s a welcome surprise. See, you already have the freedom to live The Big Dream™ — it’s just that you have to live it in small episodes. Some will be no longer than a 30-second sketch, but on most days, even that will be enough.
Instead of fretting about how little time you have with your kids, play a round of Jenga with them before dinner. Instead of worrying about your impact, go out of your way to do something for a co-worker. And instead of daydreaming about winning the lottery, celebrate the ritual of deliberately investing your dedicated $100 each month.
Pockets of freedom may start as little acts of spite, but actually, they’re acts of empowerment. When we choose to do what’s important to us in whatever way we can despite our limitations, we stop delaying our dreams, and in that, we find tremendous relief. You’ll feel much better writing for 15 minutes a day, knowing you’re working on your novel, than running around for 40 hours a week hoping to carve out some time on the weekend which you’ll then be too tired to use. The snail’s pace doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re exercising your freedom.
Forget the big break. Find pockets of freedom, and you’ll realize: You already have everything you need.