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#10: Find Freedom, Work on the Right Thing, and Enjoy Life

Ondrej Markus
Ondrej Markus
5 min read
Welcome to my work-space. I felt like drawing today.
Welcome to my work-space. I felt like drawing today.

Hey there,

it's Monday again already?

This week went by fast. Probably because I spend most of it alone and buried in work.

That brings me to...

Working on the wrong thing. Ups.

The joke of this week is that almost immediately after I sent you my reflection last week, I realized I'm working on the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

Ups.

I wrote a short essay on Twitter with the whole story.

If you don't want to go there, this is what happened in a tiny nutshell:

On Tuesday morning, I worked on the course's website but hated every minute of it. Weird. So I stopped and wrote about it in my journal.

You see, the original idea for the course was to help people start working as solopreneurs – someone who has the skill to work independently because they can build things on their own.

But, as I collected feedback, I somehow changed the theme of the course to "Build a profitable side project in 4 weeks." – probably because I got scared by people not understanding what I was trying to say.

Hell, even I wasn't sure what I'm trying to say, so I panicked and defaulted to something I know well – building things - this I knew I could do, communicate, and sell. I chickened out. 🐔

Now I was creating a generic course for profit, and I didn't enjoy that at all.

I lost the most important ingredient along the way – the thing I was most excited about, and until now didn't realize how much I cared about it...

It's finding freedom at work.

Suddenly, things clicked. And I experienced the biggest self-facepalm in a long time. It was staring at my face for months.

Facepalm
How could I not see it?

Finding freedom at work

Of course my work is about seeking freedom. It's so obvious now.

The whole idea of being a solopreneur is about optimizing your work-life for maximum freedom. I knew that in my guts, but the signal didn't travel to my brain until last week.

I feel stupid about not seeing this. And, at the same time, it feels marvelous to finally put it into words.

Sometimes you have everything you need except for the right words to express it. Words make feelings tangible. Without them, you can't shape feelings. All your enthusiasm is just raw energy – wild and aimless.

Words turn enthusiasm into a project.

It's absurd I needed to be reminded of how important freedom is to me. I mean it's what I optimize my work-life around for years.

I choose not to have a "normal job" because I hate pointless meetings, being told when and where to work, and managing the expectations of obnoxious clients. It feels like a waste of time and energy.

I want the freedom to work from anywhere. I want to control my schedule. I want to choose what I'm going to learn. I want to do work I enjoy with people I like and make money as a side-product.

Sounds too dreamy?

Maybe, but it's working for me so far.

I don't have everything figured out. But what already works for me is ruthlessly creating space in life to follow what I enjoy, try new things, and learn every day.

It's funny I have to rediscover this over and over, but hey, I'm grateful I do.

So, I'm putting the course on pause, and since Tuesday, I'm neck-deep in writing about freedom at work.

Writing about freedom at work all week
Writing about freedom at work all week

Many of my earlier ideas are clicking together like never before. The freedom frame merged them into something more. It's a vision now.

Guide: How to Find Freedom at Work

Right now, I'm working on a mega-article with the working title "How to Find Freedom at Work." It's a practical guide for people who want to optimize their work-life for freedom – as I do.

The guide will take you through the steps for rediscovering what you enjoy. And it's going to be very practical about it – no wishy-washy stuff. It's about HOW to manage money, learn new skills, and switch careers.

It's for people who want to make a change – to find a way to work where you can make enough money doing things you enjoy. A simple goal that's not easy to achieve but not as difficult as people think. In my opinion, anyway.

Reading about joy

This week, I dived deep into the topics of joy and skill because I see them as the core components for finding freedom at work.

I have two gems to share with you:

Article: The Joy of Inquiry by Alfonso Montuori – This might be the most beautiful 17 pages about the joy in learning I've ever read. The author talks about creative inquiry, which is, sadly, the opposite of what most of us experienced in school.

These are some of my favorite quotes:

  • "An artist is someone who can integrate a technique and let go of it in order to say something."
  • "I felt a definition froze me somehow, “thingified” me. My experience seemed more about an ongoing movement, a journey in a series of contexts rather than a fixed thing. More like an ongoing musical improvisation, an emergent result of the interaction with other people, ideas, and environments than a fixed score that was the same wherever it was played."
  • "Joy fuels the desire to understand the world, other people, and oneself in the process."
  • "What underlies creative inquiry—“the desire to create one’s own universe of meaning, personally defined.”
  • "As we work we literally “externalize” dimensions of ourselves."

Video: How to Enjoy Life by Alan Watts (5 minutes) – A short audio clip about the importance of skill for an enjoyable life.

  • "There is absolutely no possibility of having any pleasure in life at all without skill."
  • "Money doesn't buy pleasure. Ever."
  • "You might have inspiration, but then you have to have a technique to incarnate – to express your inspiration. That is to say, to bring heaven down to earth."
  • "To find out where (and who) you are, there has to be some way of drawing attention to it and that involves skill."

Thanks to Jan Vesely for sharing both of these pieces with me.


This is it for today. It was fun.

Now I will get back to writing the guide. I have so many ideas for it. And I need to write them all down before they go away. :D

See you Monday.

Bye.

Reflections

Ondrej Markus

Designer, writer, introvert.