The Value of Freedom

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This is a transcript based on the January 22nd, 2013 podcast WAKE UP: The Value of Freedom

The Value Of Freedom

Being an entrepreneur and having the freedom to control where your life is going is a great thing. Yesterday was Martin Luther King. Jr. Day in America, and that got me to thinking about the freedoms we have in this country and how special they are. (Although I’m Canadian, America is my home and I’ve come to love the freedoms that this country stands for.)

Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech is an amazing speech about what King had a vision for in this country, and it’s incredible to think about how far we’ve come since his day. (I highly recommend downloading this speech and reading it.) To King, freedom was the most precious thing in the world, and we’ve come a long way in this country since his time.

What is the value of freedom?

The value of freedom comes from the price paid for it. In King’s day, there were racially segregated schools, buses, and even water fountains! A segment of society had an absolute disadvantage and couldn’t pursue their dreams the way they wanted to because of that lack of basic freedoms. Although our society has changed, there are still tens of millions – maybe billions – of people in the world who have the same problem. Their circumstances don’t allow them the freedom to be what they want to be.

The circumstances we have in this country are incredibly rich and fertile with opportunity because of the freedoms we have. We don’t have a civil war to deal with, or have to live in bunkers, or wait in line for food. We have such an opportunity to be whatever we want to be that I feel like we have an obligation to take advantage of that.

Regardless of your circumstances, you can do anything with your life…if you want it badly enough.

What is the price of freedom?

Despite our ability to live life on our own terms, 90% of the employees in this country hate their jobs. They have no control over their lifestyle. It’s like a form of slavery. Even with the freedom we have to choose a different life, so many people in this country subject themselves to a life that more closely resembles slavery than freedom. They are slaves to survival.

Our freedom was paid for by the people who came before us and fought for it – with their sweat, their tears, and their blood. So many have sacrificed their lives for OUR freedom. How can we appreciate the value of that? If we don’t take advantage of it, we’re doing a disservice to those who paid the price for it.

Freedom means that you are living a life of your choice; on your terms, in order to be fulfilled and at peace. You are doing that what you are passionate about; whatever that looks like to you.

In 1995 Nicholas Negroponte wrote a book titled “Being Digital”, where he predicted that the economy that was based on physical, tangible goods would become obsolete within 20 years. It would be replaced by an economy based on digital products; anything that can be digitized will be. He couldn’t have known how right he was!

Today, everything we love can be experienced in a digital form. Even the jobs that create those products have been digitized! And with this change comes a HUGE opportunity for us as leaders of the digital economy. Technology has replaced millions of jobs. When was the last time you actually paid a toll to a person as you were driving, or rented a physical DVD? We do all of that ourselves now.

It’s crazy to think that there will be more internet activity on mobile phones than on console computers in just a few years.

With all of this increased technology, companies have to upgrade to stay competitive. Everyone’s productivity goes up in this digital economy. And with more production comes less workers needed to produce the same results; this is one major reason why so many jobs have been outsourced overseas to places like China and India. This is a trend you HAVE to be in front of if you don’t want to get left behind.

Major economic revolutions like today’s Digital Economy – think of the Industrial revolution before, with the Space Age, Jet Age, and Locomotive Age – always create tremendous opportunity for those who can get in front of the trends and capitalize on them the right way.

Revolutions create a shift; there are big winners and big losers.

During the Great Depression, much of North America saw 20 to 30% unemployment, yet there were more millionaires created during that time than any other time in history up to that point.

For you to be one of the winners in this economy, you’ve got to be willing to question old beliefs and make that subtle shift in your mind that enables you to change in advance, before the wave hits.

There hasn’t been formal education for how to succeed in the upcoming Digital Economy…until now. Kids today are learning about jobs that won’t exist in 10 years – do you get that? Like the Gold Rush, when many people risked their lives to search for a fortune in gold, there was a tremendous opportunity for wealth for the entrepreneur who was smart enough to get ahead of the trend. Instead of digging for gold, they sold shovels. That’s the mentality you need to succeed in today’s Digital Gold Rush.

The entrepreneurs who are going to strike it rich are the ones in the digital service industry.

It’s not about competing with the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world, trying to create the next best app or widget; most people who try that route won’t ever make it, like how most of the gold miners never did. You have to be the entrepreneur that leverages the technology that everyone else uses instead of competing with them. YOU have to be the one selling the “shovels” in the Digital Gold Rush.

This is your year to create that freedom for yourself if you can put yourself in that space.

How do you do that? Find the places where those kinds of people are. Immerse yourself in that conversation and that mindset. That’s how you can open your mind. You’re not going to find it on the news, where it’s all doom and gloom; all you hear about there is how high unemployment is. That doesn’t even count under employment, where 30% of people of the workforce are working at a lower pay grade than they should be!

How badly do you want freedom?

Most people are not financially self reliant. They need their job as a lifeline; if they lose it, they’re screwed. Developing financial self reliance is a life skill that you must learn before you need it. It’s like learning survival skills in the wilderness. Most people just don’t have those skills, and are only a couple of missed paychecks away from disaster. The average income today (adjusted for inflation) is just under $39,000, which is LESS than it was 43 years ago. Despite all the many trillions of dollars more that today’s economy creates, the average income is still the same!

It’s too easy to take freedom for granted. Don’t wait until your back is against the wall and things are dire before you try to create a new opportunity for yourself with all the freedoms you have to do it.

Wake up to the reality that will be 10 years from now today, not ten years from today. Decide what outcome you want and take the daily actions that put you ahead of the curve. Now is the time to take advantage of the freedom you have.

Digital Experts Academy

Here’s a great resource to help you get on the right track. Digitalexpertsacademy.com went live this week. It is an education company designed to help you transition from the traditional economy to the digital economy. Digital Experts Academy can teach you the education, skills, and mindset to get ahead of the revolution and lead from the front. If that’s where you want to be, go check it out today.