Is there such a thing as too much freedom?

Is there such a thing as too much freedom?

By Derek Sivers

I’ve always used freedom as the compass(ˈkəmpəs) to guide my decisions.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. I lived in five states and countries by the time I was 5.

I left home at 17 and went off to college(ˈkälij) as far away as I could.

I joined a circus(ˈsərkəs) for 10 years. Then I quit my last job in 1992, vowing(vou) to make a living making music and never have a job again.

A few years after I started my company, I delegated all of my responsibilities, making myself unnecessary to the operations of my company, so that I was free to go live anywhere and do anything.

My email was filtered by the customer service staff. Hardly any needed my personal reply, so I was free to go days without checking email.

I gave away most of my stuff, including my entire recording studio, to my employees. So all I had left were some clothes and my laptop. Free to travel lightly.

I moved to London for a year, just because I could. I hardly told anyone I was gone. Most people thought I was still in Portland. Then I went to San Francisco for a few months, India for a month, and Iceland for a month.

Friends back home would say, “So what did you do in Iceland?” I’d say, “Same thing as you. Same thing I’d be doing anywhere else. Just programming, working, writing, reading, living.” Living the laptop life. Location agnostic(aɡˈnästik).

I had done it! I’d reached the final destination of my life-long pursuit of freedom! Awesome, and overwhelming. So… Wow. Now what?

Where do you go, when you can be anywhere, and don’t have to be anywhere?

What do you do, when you can do anything, and don’t have to do anything?

What if you had no ties(tī)? Nothing holding you to any one place. What if you had unlimited(ˌənˈlimidəd) plane tickets? What if you never had to work again?

Is there such a thing as too much freedom?

This story isn’t coming to some conclusion(kənˈklo͞oZHən) where I answer the question. I’m still living the question.