Reaching For Freedom
A Personal Story of My Journey to Freedom
This is NOT some hyped-up story where a guy from “the gutter” is photographed next to his Rolls Royce, with a glamour girl on his arm, a few million bucks in the bank, and a winning smile. The truth is never so cheesy, or so easy.
Looking back, quite a number of years now, I’d say my life has been defined by a series of disruptions – events which turned my life upside down in some way. But with each disruption, new vistas and possibilities opened up. And I think what I’ve learned is worth sharing, because if I’d known, earlier in life, what I know now, then I could have accelerated my journey to freedom, and had more time to enjoy the fruits of my labours. But that’s life.
Life is a learning process. And, regardless of your age, gender, race or creed, we are all looking for the same thing – freedom and happiness. But the path of life is strewn with false sign posts and dead ends, not to mention dead bodies!
So, if I could condense my experiences, to distill them into the “essence” of what is important, then perhaps the following true story would be the result.
My life has been interesting.
I won’t bore you with all the early details, save to say I grew up in a “working class” family; emigrated to a new country when I was nearly 10; spent my teenage years hating school and playing in bands; and spent the first 15 years of my working life as a professional musician.
But music was a hard way to earn a living, unless you were to become famous. So I took a shot at starting up a retail business, but it failed after 6 months.
This had some unfortunate ramifications for my personal and family life, and I suddenly found myself drifting – with no rudder.
Then one day, I saw a book on a friend’s bookshelf entitled, “Who is Ayn Rand?” Who indeed! This event was indeed a “disruption”.
I decided to read Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. It was to be the most tumultuous reading experience of my life. I was left speechless, dumbfounded and utterly stressed and confused. The reason? Through the telling of a story of a man who literally caused the world to crash, by persuading all the people of ability to go on strike, I came face to face with an alien philosophy. Alien to what I had always been lead to believe. Alien to everything society apparently stood for and promoted.
At the core of this philosophy was a simple proposition. Your life is your own. You have a right to happiness. Self interest is the natural and proper human condition. Self sacrifice is evil. Wow!
That got me all fired up and my life rocketed ahead. I published a philosophical newsletter. I started the first of two very successful mail-order publishing businesses. I started a political party. I read all I could about self-improvement, goal setting, business and success. I was on a roll.
After 10 years of successful business, I sold up, and confidently embarked on a new business venture, also in publishing. It failed one year later. I started another one, to do with self-improvement. It also failed. I started another, sort of like a distribution franchise, and it failed too! By this time (three years after selling my previous successful business) I was literally broke. I’d lost all my previous confidence. I was in debt to the tune of $35,000. I had no income, and had to sell my house.
I visited the bankruptcy court to see what was involved but rejected that option. I cried myself to a fitful sleep every night. I was a big mess.
Then I remember something I had heard on a Tony Robbins tape, regarding a Charles Givens, who, when confronted with the burning down of his life’s ambition (a recording studio that was uninsured), stood in the ashes and cried. He then had an epiphany. As he stood in the ashes, he realised he still had what he always had – his mind.
That picture came back to me and I “awoke” from my depressive stupor, found a job teaching computers and began immediately to think of creative ways to climb back up into “life”.
It was then that the next major disruption hit me.
It was another book, called simply PT (short for “Perpetual Traveller”), by a mysteriously named Dr WG Hill. It was bound in red leather, with the letters “PT” embossed in gold – and a hefty US$100 price tag! But the ideas in that book shook my world yet again and gave me hope at exactly the time I needed it. It was the best $100 I ever spent.
I had been morose, pondering my stupidity and my fate which, for a man in his forties (to have lost everything), seemed like an impossible situation. I couldn’t imagine HOW I could climb out of that black hole. Every time I considered the idea of working hard, even having two jobs, in order to pay back my debts AND pay my way, I was consumed with despair. Why? Because I knew the harder I worked, the more I would be financially punished by the government, via the tax system.
Sure, I could have declared bankruptcy, handed in my passport, and become a ward of the state. But as someone who wanted to work my way out of debt, it appeared the system was stacked against me. That’s where this inspiring book came in. It showed me a way to escape, a way to build a new life – without the deadweight of government restriction and taxation. It was my lifeline.
I was immediately aware this information was dynamite. Why hadn’t I ever heard of such a strategy before? Why had it taken me so long to find out that such ideas actually exist? There and then, I realised I could build a “new” life on the basis of the ideas in this radical book. I could also use my own experience in doing so, to build a new business, and help spread this valuable knowledge to others who might equally appreciate it.
That was at the beginning of 1998. Within one year of working full time and starting my new business, I’d paid off all my debts. Within two years, my new business was earning three times more than my day job. So I quit the job to focus on my passion. Within three years I had saved over US$100,000. By then I was ready to plan the next stage of my strategy, to exit the “old” world and enter the new, by becoming an international citizen.
Everything was in place. I had spent three years reading voraciously. I had worked my butt off. I had paid off my debts. And most importantly, I had created the means by which I could support myself financially – anywhere.
It was time.
I’ll always remember that first day in my new country. I arrived at the apartment building I had found on the internet and was busy unpacking my single suitcase of belongings. I was truly travelling light.
I went outside and walked down the road, deciding to check out my new surroundings. The sky was blue and the sun warm on my face. It was like I was on drugs. A “freedom high”. I was literally bouncing along, with a big grin on my face and an ecstatic sense of the present moment. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget.
Since then life has been up and down – and sideways. I have dealt with sharks. I have discovered lifelong friends. I have strengthened my resolve. I have refined my ideas. I have consolidated my life as an internationalist, and there is nothing else I’d rather be – or do.
My life is my own. I go where I please. I work when and how I wish. I deal with life on my own terms. I can work from anywhere in the world. All I need is a laptop computer and an internet connection, and I’m “in business”.
To wake up in the morning and know that within you, you have the means to support yourself – doing something you are passionate about, and have the freedom to do this anywhere you like – is one the most wonderful feelings. It’s a feeling of gratitude that such a life is possible, and a feeling of hope, knowing nothing is really impossible, if you think, plan and act.
And what have I learned from my life experience so far?
Well, never trust anyone who says, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”. Never trust anyone who uses guilt to persuade you to grant them some favour. Never trust anyone who declares they know better than you how to run your own life. Never trust anyone who says he speaks for “God”. And never trust anyone who promises you something for nothing.
One more thing. Never give up hope – for without it, you won’t even have the energy to get out of bed in the morning!
Becoming a Sovereign Individual means throwing away a lot of “comfort” blankets. You have to assume 100% responsibility for your life. You ARE the boss, so the buck stops with you. You must come to the realisation that you have the right to your own life, and the products of your life’s energy; that no one has the right to force you to do anything against your will; that the only civilised way of living is one which involves voluntary interaction with others – not force.
Like it or not, government is not your friend. And government education is more about brainwashing than preparation for life. Finally, you have to realise there is no legitimate external authority over your life – whether, family, friends, church, society or the state. You are, in reality, sovereign. But, at the end of the day, you have to assert it and defend it. If you don’t, someone will assume that power OVER you.
If you can gain even one insight from what I’ve written of my experience – then you’re most welcome to it. But even better, why don’t you join me in Freedom Confidential – and begin to live anew!
Yours in Freedom
P.S. I have found that certain ideas have changed the course of my life, and mostly these ideas have been discovered in books. If I were to reduce this list of books down to the most influential, as far as altering my fundamental thinking goes, then I would put the following on my short list:
Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand
How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: Harry Browne
The Perpetual Traveller: WG Hill
Sic Itur Ad Astra (This is The Way to The Stars): Andrew J Galambos