Freedom is something that most humans value. To live in a democratic community where we are allowed to do and be who we want to is considered a basic human right. Freedom as a value and driver in your life can be a tricky thing though, because if you don’t leverage it right, it can actually backfire on you. Why is this I hear you ask?
We all have 6 core human needs that to some extent influence our small decisions and bigger life choices. They help us form criteria in our mind of what makes sense (often based on our past experiences) and often it’s something we do without being consciously aware of it. Every single person has some level of each need present and if you want to read more about what this actually means for you, just click below for previous posts I’ve written about each of these needs.
Now let’s talk more about freedom and what this means for you and your decisions:
- Driven by certainty – you’re craving freedom to control and decide when and how things happen.
- Driven by variety – you want freedom to experience new things often.
- Driven by significance – you desire freedom from judgement and an open environment where you feel acknowledged regularly and that you matter.
- Driven by love & connection – you want freedom to express love, care and friendship to the people around you and simply be in this space as often as you want.
- Driven by growth – you need freedom to educate yourself as well as immerse yourself in new ideas and thoughts.
- Driven by contribution – you need freedom to go out and contribute your time, money and ideas to make the world a better place.
We often think that what we crave most is freedom to just do what we want, but if you look at freedom wearing either of these 6 ‘glasses’, you’ll notice that it looks very different. The biggest mistake I see people make is that they are not aware of what 1 or 2 core human need drive their decisions, nor do they understand how this relates to their version of freedom.
Where this backfires badly is when someone who is driven by love and connection decides that freedom is to go far away and in doing so somewhat isolate themselves from the people they love and care about. They still value freedom, but how they express this goes against their core need of connection as is likely to leave them sad, left out and even depressed. Another example is someone driven by certainty setting out on a massive adventure with no real plan or budget. It’s doable, but fundamentally in-congruent with what you desperately need which is to know.
For most of us the need for freedom starts kicking in when we need more variety in our life or we feel that other people start to control us, what we’re allowed to do and when. Most often we don’t realise that by following other people’s definition of what freedom is for them, we can compromise our own version and this will leave us unhappy. We can override our core needs for short periods of time, but if you try and push against your natural driver it simply won’t feel right for you. If you’re interested in this and want to unpack this some more, feel free to get in touch!