What It Takes To Be Free by Darius Foroux (Summary)

AttitudeLifeMindsetPersonal DevelopmentPhilosophyPsychologySuccess
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Imagine a life where you could do anything you desired.
You are doing things you are passionate about, and you are making more than enough money.
You are fit and chasing your purpose.
You are becoming more and more free.
It sounds like a dream, right?
Well, obviously, freedom isn’t easy to acquire.
Very few people achieve this level of freedom.
In this book summary, we will learn what it really takes to be free—not just externally, but also internally.
And also, try to understand what real freedom feels like.
Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Lesson #1: Most people are free only in theory, but they are all caged by obligation set by others.

What’s the point of discussing freedom if we don’t understand what it means?
If you ask anyone if they are free to do anything, they will reply that yes, they can do anything.
But is it really true?
Are we all living a life that we always wanted to live?
Most of us won’t feel good while admitting it. But the truth is that we are caged by the obligations of other people.
And the biggest reason for this is that we don’t know ourselves.
We don’t know what freedom is.
We don’t know how to be free.
Freedom is just an abstract concept for many people.
Yes, we want to be free, but most people associate freedom with chasing pleasures.
People think that if they get to do fun stuff, they are free.
That’s not true.
This is not true freedom.
We are being sold the wrong definition of freedom.
And this is what happens when you don’t understand the true meaning of freedom.
Most of us believe that freedom is external. But the true essence of freedom is internal.
Inner freedom is what we want the most.
Yes, external freedom is also necessary. For example, you should be free enough to visit any place you want or buy any necessary thing you want and live your day as you want.
But you should not feel a sense of bondage within your mind.
Freedom, be it external or internal, both aren’t easy to get.
In other words: Freedom is expensive, but it’s worth chasing.
Life isn’t easy, and so is the case with freedom.
It’s so tough to get that most people won’t ever experience true freedom in their lives.
You must deeply understand what freedom means for you.
You can be free, but you are not free yet.
For most people who think that they are free, they are just living an illusion.
Becoming free means that you have to learn how to live your life on your own terms so that you reach your highest potential.
Maybe you have lost all hope, and you think that there is nothing much to do in life. You always feel demotivated. This happens to so many people today.
If you don’t have a reason to live, you don’t understand how much bondage you are in.
There are traps everywhere in the world.
And if you don’t have the idea of freedom in your mind, you will become more caged in your mind.
Ultimate Freedom is the best thing you can experience in your life.

Lesson #2: You cannot be free without having core values.

You can’t be free without the knowledge of your internal world.
Most likely, you are living on random chances that life throws at you, and you are thinking that you are free.
Just think about it.
Did you sit down and figure out your core values?
A majority of people don’t know what their core values are.
We all have values deep inside our minds, but we are not aware of them.
And since we are so clueless about them, we don’t consider them while making crucial decisions in our daily lives.
No wonder most people don’t feel good about themselves.
Without knowing what you want in your life, and working towards it, you can’t feel good about yourself.
Sure, you can engage in pleasure-providing activities like clubbing, watching pron or Netflix, but you can’t feel proud about it.
When you engage in random pleasure, without knowing your values, you end up with more guilt.
That guilt keeps on accumulating as the time passes, making you feel bad about yourself.
We don’t want to feel bad, we want freedom from those bad feelings, don’t we?
Don’t think that you already know everything about life.
Life is a mystery waiting to be uncovered.
You are capable of becoming a new person every day.

Sit for 10 minutes today and answer these questions:

  • “Who am I an individual?”
  • “What do I stand for?”
  • “What do I truly want to do in my life?”
  • “How would I live differently if I didn’t have any obligations set by the society?”

These questions will not change your life instantly, but they will grow your awareness.
You will become more conscious about your being.
You will feel uncomfortable or confused at first. That’s very normal.
Just tell yourself that it’s okay to not know certain things. It’s not your fault that you don’t know the answers to such deep questions.
Remember, nobody cares whether you find answers to such questions or not, it’s only you who has to take the responsibility.
Nobody else is going to do this for you.
Freedom is not possible without growing awareness about yourself.
If “freedom” is the destination, “taking responsibility for your life” is the road that will take you there.

Lesson #3: Dependency on others makes you less free.

If you are on the path of freedom, dependency on other people is your enemy.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever take help from anyone.
The point is that the less dependent you are on others, the more you can take responsibility for your life.
Every time you get dependent on other people, although they may not say it, you appear weak.
Nobody like weak people. This is the harsh truth.
Dependency can be on anything. It’s not always about people.
You can also be dependent on the objects of pleasure.
For example, today all of us are too much dependent on the internet.
When dependency is too much, we lose control.
And you can already see this happening, people can’t live without their smartphones now. They are constantly glued to it and wasting their time.
They can’t spend their day normally without scrolling social media for hours.
So you see, social media is controlling our lives.
This is just one example of how dependency can take the control of your life away from you and give to other people.
Freedom is only possible when you are the in-charge, when you are in the driving seat of your life.
But do you know why we all tend to fall into the trap of dependency?
When you seek support or connection from other people, you are trying to get relief from some kind of problem. Most of the time, the problem is loneliness.
And when we depend on substances or gadgets, we seek some kind of emotional relief.
Behind all the dependency, there is ignorance and there is attachment to this idea that we are not good enough on our own — that we are incomplete.
Every time you depend on others, you sacrifice your freedom to some degree.
The emotional relief you get from dependency is temporary. While the relief you get from freedom is something else entirely.
So keep the dependency bare minimum if you want to be free emotionally.
Don’t jump into relationships to fix your loneliness.
Don’t scroll social media just to get validation from other people.
Take accountability for the problems you have in your life.
Those problems won’t get solved by themselves unless you change yourself and take some kind of action.

Lesson #4: Stop following your random thoughts and emotions to become absolutely free.

Traps aren’t always in the external world that we see through our eyes.
Most traps exist within our minds.
Our emotions trap us all the time.
Ever noticed what happens when you feel very emotional?
For example, when we feel angry, don’t we feel like we should break a few things?
We feel a strong urge to do something.
Most people aren’t able to resist their emotions. They live their entire lives based on their emotions.
Their thinking is usually like, “I feel like I should eat, so I will eat something now.”
Or “I feel like I should go outside, so I’m going outside.”
This doesn’t mean that following your emotions is always bad.
But we can’t deny the fact that our emotions don’t always guide us in the right direction.
Emotions guide us about what we should do in the present moment, without considering the long-term consequences of our actions.
For example, if you are binge-eating junk food right now just because you are feeling good in the present moment, you will regret later when your body will become less healthy.
Just like we can’t always trust our emotions, we can’t always trust our thoughts either.
Our thoughts can also mislead us.
We often confuse our thoughts with facts.
Normal people get attached to their thoughts and make terrible decisions all the time.
The key is to become more self-aware.
When you start growing your awareness, you don’t follow all your random thoughts and emotions. You become more intelligent at dealing with problems.
Don’t become a slave to your mind. Use your mind to become free instead of becoming more trapped than you already are.
Remember and repeat this exercise every day. Every time you get a feeling or thought, once in a while, try going against it.
For instance, you might feel like eating sugar. Try going against this urge and do something else.
Such small acts of resistance will slowly develop your self-control.
Most people will keep following their emotions, but those who truly love freedom will not do anything that gives a sense of bondage.
While you do such an exercise of going against your thoughts and emotions, keep in mind that it will be uncomfortable at first. So don’t give up. Treat it the same way you would treat a gym workout.
That temporary pain (that feeling of resistance) will only make you more emotionally strong.

Lesson #5: The more certainty you crave, the more uncertain and insecure you become.

Safety. Security. Stability.
Who doesn’t want these things, right?
The author talks about how life is so uncertain all the time. However, instead of accepting reality, we like to believe that someone or something will give us eternal certainty.
The truth is that the only thing to be certain is that there is nothing to be certain about in this world.
Life is always changing.
People change. Economies change. Careers change. The climate changes. Even the quality of air you breathe keeps changing. Our bodies are constantly changing at the molecular level.
Your emotions will change too. Today you are happy, tomorrow you might face some bad situation. Nobody knows what may happen in the future.
Does this mean we should lose all hope?
No, don’t go to extreme scenarios.
Even though everything changes with time in the external world, you can still have your personal freedom.
You may not control what happens in the world, but you can control how you look at the world.
The author highlights that giving up certainty doesn’t mean that you should not take responsibility.
There is so much in life you can do with personal freedom.
The main idea is not to stop taking responsibility, thinking that nothing is in your control, the idea is to be responsible.
We can grow our awareness and avoid so many problems and traps.
The desire for certainty is a trap.
The more you seek certainty, the weaker you become.
Because what you seek is an illusion.
Accepting that certainty doesn’t exist gives you the freedom to make the best decisions under any circumstances.
The reason we seek so much safety and security is because uncertainty gives us suffering. We want to avoid that suffering.
Let’s learn more about this in the next lesson.

Lesson #6: Avoiding suffering only makes you weaker in the long term.

We always tend to avoid doing things that look scary or might give us some kind of emotional pain.
This pattern often goes unnoticed, though.
First we start avoiding small challenging things. Then, as the time passes, we also start avoiding bigger challenges in life.
The more challenges we avoid, the more we run away from suffering, paradoxically, life only gets harder.
By always avoiding suffering, we welcome more suffering.
For example, when you are avoiding the pain of going to the gym, you are welcoming the pain of being fat. You don’t realize the sense of shame it will bring you once people start laughing at your fat body.
Most people wish to live a life of freedom and do the things they want, but at the same time, they don’t want to pay the cost of achieving it.
Metaphorically speaking, they want the cake and don’t want to put the effort that goes into baking it or don’t want to go to the bakery and buy it.
People avoid suffering because it feels bad.
It makes us see our ugly reality.
And this is where the magic happens.
If you can endure all that suffering, you can grow stronger.
You can actually beat all the competition and improve your stats, just like you would improve it in a video game.
Most people would never self-improve because they have bought into the ideology that they are good as they are — that they don’t need to fix their habits and behaviors.
And it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It’s much more convenient to believe that life is good already instead of taking responsibility and going through all that pain and struggle that comes with self-improvement.
Look, we are not talking about inviting unnecessary problems. We don’t derive pleasure from suffering.
We are very much against suffering. We are choosing suffering in the short term so that we can eliminate suffering in the long term.
Just because we accept suffering as a part of life, it doesn’t mean that we have to spend all our lives suffering for silly things.
So as long as suffering leads us to emotional and spiritual freedom, suffering is good.
Waiting in line just to get a ticket to your concert or movie you like is actually unnecessary suffering. We aren’t talking about this kind of suffering.
That concert or movie you are so much hyped about is optional. Your life isn’t going to change if you don’t see it. This is an example of unwanted suffering. Here, you are the one creating suffering when you could be busy doing important things.
Again, we are not against pleasure either.
We must choose our sufferings wisely.
This is a little nuance that many people don’t understand. They think in extremes.
Either they pursue too much suffering or they always try to avoid it.
There must be a balance.
Neither should we pursue suffering nor completely reject it.
We must accept suffering as a part of life and try to seek freedom.
And yes, don’t be surprised if you find these lessons similar to the teachings of Buddhism.
This is one of the lessons Buddha taught.

Lesson #7: Become free from the sense of obligation that you can save other people by offering unwanted help.

As soon as we start doing some self-improvement and actually start getting results, we feel a natural urge to help other people.
However, we are so innocent that we forget that not everyone lives on the same wavelength. We all have different preferences and priorities.
For many people, doing self-improvement and seeking freedom isn’t even a priority. They don’t think that they need any sort of improvement.
So when you try to help them, they think, “Why is this person trying to impose their ideas on me?”
Instead of seeing it as “help,” they see it as a problem.
Why do they think like that?
It’s because you are trying to treat a problem that hasn’t been acknowledged by the person.
You try to act like a doctor when a patient doesn’t think he needs a doctor.
We must learn to keep things to ourselves and not offer unwanted help.
Sure, if a person asks for help, help them and give them necessary knowledge or education.
But if they are not interested in learning new things, don’t try to convince them to learn new things and improve.
You can’t change a person’s mind easily.
In fact, if you really want to share all the knowledge and experience, share it with someone who you know would appreciate it.
There is no point in convincing other people freedom is what we all want. Let them live their own lives.
If you are someone who is surrounded by unmotivated people without any ambition, you are bound to get frustrated. That’s because you are incompatible with them.
Even the best knowledge in the world won’t convince them to find a purpose.
And let’s say, that by some chance, they decide to listen to you, they will be back to their old behaviors in a few days complaining how your ideas were unhelpful to begin with.
Remember, you don’t have any obligation to help those who don’t want to be helped. Don’t try to play captain savior with them.
This doesn’t mean that you should never show compassion. It’s just that it’s sometimes better to not do anything and let people go through all those mistakes.
Even with the best intentions, you can’t save everyone.
So just keep doing your own thing with mindfulness and don’t worry if they don’t listen to your advice.
A lot of people also just try to help to get validation from other people.
Remember, just because you have achieved some growth, other people are not obligated to praise you or see you above themselves. They will avoid giving you validation when you are on the path of self-improvement.
Many people actually dislike people who choose self-improvement over partying, drinking, and wasting time.

Lesson #8: Attachment to beliefs is the opposite of freedom.

When anyone thinks that they are absolutely free, they are just lying to themselves. They might very much believe that they are free, but it’s only because they don’t know the meaning of freedom.
You may be free physically, but emotionally, all of us are trapped by our emotions.
And we discussed this already earlier.
You, I, and everyone else is attached to a lot of beliefs.
Maybe you are attached to a different set of beliefs when compared to your friend.
But this only proves that we are all attached to beliefs.
Humans would go to great lengths to make sure that their ideologies propagate to the next generation and so on.
And behind this desire to protect our ideas, there is attachment.
People don’t listen to advice that doesn’t align with their beliefs.
This is the reason that most people become insecure and start personal attacks when you try to prove them wrong.
And this is not the sign of a free person.
Judging by simply looking at this behavior of most people, you can see how many people are still trapped by their beliefs.
People who are too attached to their beliefs have no free will of their own. They have already destroyed the possibility of doing anything new that goes against their beliefs.
The author says that ideas are cheap. Anyone can come up with ideas.
The reason knowing about your core beliefs is so and seeing how attached we are to them is that all our actions are based on our beliefs.
You will never find someone reading books who thinks that reading books is boring. You will see them watching corn or Netflix.
You will never see a person hitting the gym every day if they think that fitness isn’t that important — that they don’t need to exercise to stay fit.
To be absolutely free, you must have complete awareness of your beliefs.
And once you identify those beliefs, you must be able to stay detached from them.
Beliefs are nothing, but ideas.
And if there is a better idea available compared to what’s already in your mind, then be free to let the old one go.
You don’t need to nourish your old ideas if they aren’t adding any value to your life.
Remember, when you don’t address your beliefs, they start controlling you.
This is why attachment to ideas takes freedom away from you. It’s the opposite of freedom.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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