Follow These Three Rules If You Want To Be Free
“The free man is a warrior.” — Nietzsche
We live more shackled now than ever.
We’re shackled to our phones, our emails, our relationships (some of them toxic), our own beliefs, our comfort.
And although there’s no one literally holding us down and preventing us from doing as we please, we’ve chosen to remain in one place, both figuratively and literally. We’ve chosen comfort over growth.
“The free man is a warrior.”
Nietzsche believed freedom was not given; it was conquered. The only way to freedom is to overcome resistance.
If you want to be free, you need to be willing to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of your goals. Typically, this resistance is self-imposed, and often shows up in the form of laziness, procrastination, self-doubt, fear, low self-esteem, etc.
Sometimes we are our biggest obstacle.
Nietzsche argues that if we want to be free we need to become warriors and fight against all these hurdles that are keeping us down and shackled.
In Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche describes freedom beautifully:
”Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves. It is to preserve the distance which separates us from other men. To grow more indifferent to hardship, to severity, to privation, and even to life itself.”
In the quote above, he delineates three things we must do to be free:
1) Accept self-responsibility.
2) Stop being part of the herd.
3) Not let external circumstances affect your inner world.
Be Responsible for Yourself
“Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.”
You are not a failure until you blame someone else and stop trying.
Mistakes and shortcomings hurt. That’s why no one wants to own up to them. The solution of the weak-minded is to blame someone else. After all, you’re surrounded by plenty of people on whom to hang that guilt that you cannot bear yourself.
Sure, blaming someone else might feel good momentarily.You will rid yourself of that guilt, but you will forever be chained to your inability to grow.
Nietzsche wants us to own up to the outcomes of our actions, whether good or bad. The truly free individual has no qualms accepting fault mainly because the truly free individual does not care about what others might think of him. He cares about what he thinks of himself. And the only way to overcome guilt is by learning from it and using it as fuel for growth.
Stop Being Part of the Herd
“Freedom…is to preserve the distance which separates us from other men.”
The term “herd mentality” is all the rage now. No one wants to be part of the herd. And while you’d hope this would be great news for humanity, it simply means people are changing one herd for another.
The truly free individual does not need others to validate her thoughts and actions. She’s all the approval she needs.
This does not mean you’ll become a hermit and move to a mountain to be alone with your thoughts (Although how great would that be?) This also doesn’t mean you’ll be a jerk to everyone. This simply means that you understand you don’t have to part of a whole, you don’t have to be part of something, you don’t need others to make you feel good about yourself. You recognize that you’re all you need to feel complete. Your ideas, your goals, your self-esteem depend on you and no one else.
Do Not Let External Circumstances Affect Your Inner World
“Freedom is…to grow more indifferent to hardship, to severity, to privation, an even to life itself.”
Life can be pretty f*cking hard sometimes. And if we focus on how hard it is to be alive, we’ll never get anywhere.
Nietzsche preaches indifference. If you truly want to be free, you cannot let the outside world affect your inner oasis. The outside will always be full of problems, difficulties, hardships, and troubles. You’ll only be here for a small period of time.
So create a thick shell around you, and keep your sight focused on the things you DO want.
After all, our focus becomes our reality.
The truly free individual knows two things:
“This too shall pass.”
“Nothing lasts forever… not even life.”
So put on your armor and become a warrior of your own freedom, always remembering to:
1) Be responsible for yourself
2) Avoid being part of the herd
3) Keeping you inside world safe from the outside world.