The 4 Keys To Happiness

Think you are free because you are a super achiever? You are probably not free even if you are very successful in your career if you don’t have these 4 types of freedom, without which being happy remains extremely hard.

Financial Freedom: Financial freedom means you are no longer in a  position where you need to work for money, whatever work you do is because you want to do it, not because you need to do it for the money. This goal partly depends on your income but not entirely as a lot of it depends on one’s life choices. One with a high consumption lifestyle and ridden with debt may still not be financially free despite earning millions or billions while someone with a lower income but lower cost of living, little to no debt, a bigger nest of savings and insurance for major unexpected events is actually much more free!

Of course achieving such a state will take quite a bit of time and one with a higher income is in a position to do so much more faster as long as their expenses are substantially lower than their income.

Time Freedom – People say time is money. They are wrong. Money lost can be made back. Money deposited in a bank pays interest. Money can be manufactured. You cannot do any of those things with time. Time is therefore much more valuable than money till they find a way to invent a time machine or stop aging. If you have a lot of financial freedom but zero time freedom, you are not free and you can never be happy. You may think you will have a lot of time when you retire when old but that is the wrong way of thinking because your health at that age may not allow you to do so. Secondly, if you want to spend time with your parents they may no longer be around when you are that age. If you want to spend time with your kids, they may have no time freedom when you finally have some time. This is why I advocate the concept of mini retirements throughout life and structuring your work in such a way that your income can be leveraged through others’ time and not just yours.

Location Freedom – The third sort of freedom is the freedom of location. If you have other forms of freedom but that freedom is limited to one particular city you are still not properly free. If your work does not allow you to at least carry on partially from other location, you are still tied to one particular place and are not free to move around.

While it may not be realistic for many businesses to be operated equally efficiently from any location, an option you could have is to figure out ways to delegate the work effectively so that while your business operates from a particular location, your presence in that location is not always required.

Attachment freedom – The fourth and most important form of freedom is freedom from attachment. Freedom from attachment is the ultimate key to achieving happiness. If we are attached to something, seeing that thing go away causes pain and because nothing is permanent, attachment inevitably causes pain which makes it extremely hard to be happy.

Interestingly, if you just achieve freedom from attachment you automatically achieve all the above three forms of freedom. However, that is a sort of freedom that can never really be achieved by most people leading the life of a family man/woman completely. Even if you are able to give up attachment to material things, it is very hard to give up one’s attachment to people they love.Thus, for most people this sort of freedom is more of a goal to be worked towards rather than a goal that they should perfectly achieve. Meditation and spiritual literature that resonates with you is a great first step in this direction.