Each day we fight institutions, advertisers, and social norms for the ownership of our minds. Most of us live our lives with partially free minds. We’ll claim our freedom as long as our comfort zone is not violated. We rebel when the risk is minimal.
To ensure the freedom of your mind, here are 7 rules to help guide you. If you feel like any of these don’t apply to you, please break them.
1. Don’t be a tool.
Conformity and social acceptability is the natural enemy of the free mind.
We live our lives based on templates of what we think we should do. We take jobs we don’t want because they make us feel important (even though they make us hate our lives). We try to fit a role based on society and other peoples expectations. The only way to reclaim the freedom of your mind is to stop living your life by a template and pave your own way.
Most people defer the ownership of their minds simply because they are afraid to be different. They’re afraid of being noticed and they’re afraid of what people will think about them. The only person’s opinion you should care about is your own. Everyone else is secondary.
2. Stop caring.
Most of our suffering is caused by caring too much about things that don’t really matter. The hand we’re dealt in life is outside of our control. The events and situations we’re placed in our largely beyond our influence. Stop caring about what other people do, what other people think and work within the circle of your influence.
We worry a lot about how things will turn out after there’s nothing we can do about it. Forget your hang-ups and accept what you can’t control and do your best to influence the things you can.
We throw away a ridiculous amount of opportunities simply because we can’t make up our minds. We paralyze ourselves with the auto-response “I don’t know.” We tell ourselves that we’ll figure it out in the future, but we’ll likely never know how everything will turn out in advance.
Change your auto-response “I don’t know” to “I’ll figure it out.”
Accept that sometimes stumbling in the dark is the only way to find the light switch.
4. Realize most fears are illusory.
There are countless fears we have that are merely illusions. There is no possible threat of any real danger, except maybe embarrassment or humiliation (public speaking, for example). Even then, most of these fears are wildly exaggerated.
There is no real threat to your life (well maybe your finances) with starting your own business or quitting the job you hate.
To re-claim the ownership of your mind, fear must be assimilated. Always do what you are afraid to do.
5. Stop betraying yourself.
The natural tendency of the mind is to compare and contrast everything. One side of your mind says “this is the right choice,” while the other side says “you’re joking right?”
This discord creates a battle of a judge and a victim inside your mind.
To free your mind you have to transcend the judge and the victim. After all, does it make much sense that the same voice that caused you to do something is now chastising you?
Regain the freedom of your mind by being impeccable with yourself, and never using your mind against you.
6. Question authority.
Most people simply follow what they’re told (jump? how high?).
Just because an “expert” says something, you don’t have to believe it. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s correct.
Think for yourself and question authority. Don’t believe anything that doesn’t agree with your own common sense.
7. Freedom is a state of mind.
We search for freedom by gaining a certain amount of money, possessions, or status. But as soon as we attain the object of our desire, we’re no longer satisfied. We’re still in search of what’s next.
Realize that it’s not the object you desire that is the cause of discontent, it’s the desire for freedom by attaining something “out there.” The search for freedom perpetuates the idea that you could be free if only you could “get it” by attaining something.
In reality, the only way to free yourself is to realize that freedom is a state of mind.
De-Bugging Your Mind
From the moment we’re born we’re taught to behave a certain way, follow certain rules and do certain things to fit in. Our authentic mind is broken and we essentially become domesticated.
Re-claiming your freedom requires the constant pursuit of de-bugging your mind. You have to pull out all the weeds that are strangling your integrity.
Contrary to popular belief, freedom isn’t given freely. It is not something passed out at birth. You’ll never be free unless you unabashedly proclaim it within.
Some people just don’t want freedom of choice though, they want freedom from it. (If that’s your case, your cog will fit nicely in many pre-determined places.)
Claiming ownership over your mind is realizing that there is no path to follow but your own. There is no price you can put on the freedom of your mind.
Don’t out-source your freedom; homogeneity is the bane of life.
For more rebellion against conformity subscribe to Illuminated Mind.[photo credit: Merlijn Hoek]
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