Ali Jafarian

The Freedom of Choice

Episode Number 002
Duration 16 min

This is a solo recording with me where I break down the concept of freedom. We talk about freedom of attachments, freedom of mind, and ultimately, freedom of choice.


Welcome back folks, Ali here. This is episode two. It's going to be a shorter solo recording with me. And today we're going to dive deep on the topic of freedom. This came up in my previous episode with John Doherty, we had an awesome dialogue around it, exchanged some really cool thoughts. So check that out if you haven't already.

And today I just wanted to elaborate. I wanted to talk a little bit about what I think freedom means, how it showed up in my life and then what it might mean for you. So without further ado, let's dig in. Let's establish some context first. So freedom can mean different things to different people. And what I want to focus on today is primarily our freedom of choice.

We all have it. We can all exercise that. And it's one of the most liberating things once you kind of shift your mindset into really understanding how much freedom you have and how to use it. So. My quick journey and story around freedom is that we actually recently just did a top core values exercise with Mr.

Jeff Woods, shout out from the one thing team he showed up at our front row dads retreat and let our group do an awesome exercise where we had to go through 150 core values and narrow it down to three. And low and behold freedom was in my top three. It was also my number one. I'm looking at those cards and just doing some deep introspection really helped me understand how important freedom is to me now.

And how much, how important spend, you know, virtually my entire life. You know, I became an entrepreneur to exercise freedom. It was hard for me when I used to work for other companies to kind of take direction from bosses, especially if I didn't look up to them or admire them. I always found it hard to abide by a defined schedule.

And ultimately I just kind of wanted to make my own choices in my work, in what I worked on, who I worked with, et cetera. Freedom's also in my DNA. It's part of my story. It's part of my legacy. My dad, you know, he, he has deep roots in freedom and leaving Iran and coming to the states and starting a new life.

He now lives in Europe. My brother lives in China, you know, freedom is in the Jafarians. We have this innate trait of wanting to control our lives, control our destinies. And ultimately, you know, I value freedom. To design the lifestyle of my choice. That's the easiest way to summarize it in one simple sentence, everything from travel to experiences, to the food that I consume, cultures, people, et cetera, you know, freedom to me comes down to choice and I've recently been striving towards almost as free of a schedule as I can get. Almost like trying to attain the Warren buffet lifestyle, where he virtually wakes up every morning and decides what he wants to do. So I'm not quite there yet, but I do have a lot of Liberty to choose what I do on a day to day basis.

I have lost my previous incentive of money. Financial gains are not my driver anymore. They were at a point in the past when I was younger. Whereas now freedom is my driver. Right. And, and I'm very, I guard that, you know, I'm, I'm to a point now and I'm proud to say that I usually don't schedule much more than a week in advance, so I'll know what I'm going to get into next week.

I'll also have a lots of availability from both the personal, the professional side, but if you ask me what I'm doing in a month, Know, I might have some things, some things that my wife and I have chalked up, or if there's trips that we've planned, but professionally I am intentional about leaving that schedule open. And just to really focus in on my current journey, I have been simplifying my work relentlessly this last 12 plus months.

I have been reducing my professional commitments and obligations in a healthy and a disciplined way. And I started freedom Fridays earlier this year. And that's exactly what I'm doing today. I'm recording this podcast on a Friday morning. Let me tell you what I did this morning. I woke up, I did some journaling.

Then I played some kitchen basketball with my son where we set up these laundry baskets as little hoops and, you know, had some fun playing basketball in the kitchen, with an inflatable volleyball, by the way. Then I came upstairs and actually thought about what I wanted to get done today because it's a freedom Friday.

So this was part of it. There's some other stuff. I'm checking in with my FRD band, which is going to be awesome. And then my daughter and I had some fun eating breakfast together. She's now off to dance class with my wife and then I went and did a workout. So I just ran, lifted some weights. I am feeling fantastic. And now I'm recording this.

So this exact moment of being able to create this with you is an instance of how I'm trying to exercise freedom in my life. And then some other quick notes are that thanks to different content I've picked up recently, like the Gap and the Gain book, which is awesome by Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy.

I'm starting to really experience life in the moment instead of creating all these visions and ideals that we can get wrapped up into as high achievers. I'm also really trying to embrace the true creator of me. So, and at the time of this recording, I'm pursuing some deep purpose work with a coach.

And it's awesome. So that's a little bit about my journey today or coming all the way from where I've come to today and really thinking about how I'm leveraging freedom and using it. And some other notes that I think are interesting to talk about here. One of them is freedom and society, and I would ask the question, are we actually free? And without getting too political?

Cause I mentioned from the start I wanted to focus this on personal freedoms we have, but you know, there's always a relationship to our citizenship, our location, where we live, our governments, et cetera. You know, the U S has a pretty free country compared to most, that's arguable. I'm actually learning more about how some other countries are actually way more free than us, but we do have some freedoms here, which we should take advantage of and be grateful for.

But. I think we need to pause and ask how much freedom are we actually exercising, even if it's granted to us. For example, most of us have jobs that we have to show up to every week with rare exception. Most of us stay in the same city or country for the majority of our lives. Most of us follow the same routines and patterns subconsciously.

Right. We wake up, do the things. Go to bed. Repeat. Most of us inherit the same beliefs and opinions that are forced onto as externally. So this is another thing you'll hear me talk a lot about in terms of societal programming and things we just pick up as opposed to actually choosing. So when you think about this, and I remember watching this awesome documentary on Gaia, it's Transcendence.

You should check it out. One of the great speaker on that show talked about. If you zoomed out and you were like in the clouds or in space, looking at how human. Operate on a daily basis, especially in large metropolitan areas like Denver, where I live, you wouldn't think there was much freedom at all. It would, it would look like little ants where we go.

We were in our little houses. Then we get up, we go to the job, go to the store, go to this, go to that comeback, go to sleep. And so conceptually, again, zoomed out, you would think like, Hmm, it's almost like there's an invisible fence where these people are all confined to a very routine, somewhat orchestrated lifestyle.

So I think that's something healthy to consider and ask ourselves. Like, even though we have freedoms and we're proud about them, how much are we actually exercising? Right?

Now we'll get a little bit deeper. Another topic is freedom of attachments. So what I've been learning and continue to learn is that most of our personal freedoms have a direct correlation with our attachments or dependencies. In other words, what things are we attached to? Are we dependent on, what things require us, right. And it can be something as simple as showing up for a monthly volunteer thing that you chose to do or something as serious as having a child. Right? My children are attachments.

They're attachments that I love and I care deeply for, but they are still attachments. Right. Someone without children has a different form of freedom. Someone who doesn't volunteer has a different form of freedom than someone who does. Right. And so, as we gain a lot of these attachments, It's interesting to realize that more often than not, our anxiety can build as well.

So anxiety can build when freedom is lost. There's this interesting relationship there. For example, having a mortgage, having a stressful job or a career, having an endless task list, right? These things are real for most of us and they're anxiety builders. They are also freedom suckers, you know? And so that's just something I wanted to bring to attention as, as we take on more and I actually wrote a blog post about this.

There is a direct correlation with how our anxiety shoots through the roof. And you'll notice that if you talk to people who don't have a lot going on, it's not to be interpreted in negative context. They just are really free because they perhaps have a simple life where they've chosen to things that they're attached to.

I just took a recent trip to my wife, to my wife. I took a recent trip to St. Louis with my wife, Gabrielle. It was for a wedding to see a good friend who introduced us years ago, John Thompson. It was beautiful just to spend some time in St. Louis together. It was a unique scenario. We left the kids at home with Nana, which is my mom, by the way. And then we got to spend some time in Gabrielle's parents home, but they were also gone and her brother was kind of there, but he had to work and stuff. So it was really just me and her with 48 hours to ourself. No kids, no family, no agenda. Other than showing up for this wedding on Sunday for a few hours.

And what that equated to was ultimate freedom. It was just this blissful state with no obligations or commitments. Right. We had an awesome hike together. We got to connect and we got to rest. We've even looked at each other and just laughed at one point, uh, the morning of the wedding. Cause we're like, well, we don't really have much to do. And it feels really nice. Right?

And I think this is exactly why vacations are important. Resets are important, just unplugging breaking away from your normal, because it's an example of where you're exercising some freedom. You're not attached or dependent on normal things that typically take up a lot of your time and energy.

And autonomy is also very important. So freedom to be with ourselves, no influence from others, you know, create space to be bored and fuel the creativity that's within you. I think that this is an example of how we can sort of pause or break the attachments that have been put upon us or that we've chosen. Right.

And then there's freedom of mind. So this is another learning that is very fresh for me. I've been studying under Kapil Gupta who, if you haven't read his books, I would encourage you to, or at least I've gotten tons of value out of them. And he's just a master of helping us understand our mind and how much it just dictates our daily lives.

And, you know, he explains freedoms as it relates to our truths. And. Attachments plus desires are what keep us on this ongoing pleasure wheel. To break that down really quickly, it's just constant game of desires and wants. We go through this cycle of wanting something, then attaining it and then becoming bored and then wanting again.

That's just a very short version. There's a lot more to, to. Unpack there, but for the most part, that's, that's an easy way to find the pleasure wheel and all of this stuff from. The F you know, the games that we play of, of wanting material things to the meals that we eat to, how we entertain ourselves with TV shows and movies to love and affection.

These are all an example of the pleasure wheel. They're all things that inevitably just take up massive amounts of mind space, and it's because they're attachments. They're desires that we've created personal contracts with. And so one of the things I've learned from him is that most of the day we're not actually free.

Our mind is just waiting for the next desire. The next thing. And I live this, so I'm continually working to get deeper into awareness and really understand these desires that come up for me every day, why I want them, how I might consider being free of them. And one of the things that could be says, which I think is just awesome. Is that the only way to win this game is to be free of it. So to stop playing. So whether it's these attachments, these desires, it's quite hard to play this game and master it and keep these things at check. Whereas if you simply decide to check out and not play the game, now you've started to work towards freedom of mind.

Uh, the last thing and the ultimate freedom is. Freedom of choice. That's where we started. It's where we're going to end. You know, the other two depend on this. When we started talking about attachments, mind, even some of the societal freedoms, all of this comes down to what we choose. Right?

We choose where to live. We choose who to get into relationships with. We choose what to be attached to. We choose what our mind works through every single day. And that's been a game changer for me to really, really, really focus in on this freedom of choice. Is that, what am I choosing? What commitments and priorities am I choosing?

What people am I choosing to be in my life? What projects am I choosing? What attachments might choosing, right? What things depend on me?

I'm realizing that there's always a cost to saying yes, or taking something on. There's always a cost. It could be minimal. It could be more major. But the point is that when you really start to understand your freedom of choice, where you spend or invest your time, then it becomes this powerful decision-making tool that will inevitably relate to the freedom that you have, the freedom that you've gained, that you've chosen to have attained. However you look at using and exercising your freedom.

So I think that's a good summary. These are some of the top of mind thoughts I wanted to get out today. And I'm just going to leave you with that.

I'm gonna leave you that, leave you with a question, just thinking about what does freedom mean to you? What choices have you made that have led into the freedoms you have today. And then ultimately, are you aware that you have freedom of choice in almost everything you do? And if so, how are you going to use it?

I hope this was helpful and I'll catch you next time.

Ali Jafarian

Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.

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