Location Independence - Dreaming of a Revolution


If you’ve spent any time online the last two years, you’ve seen the idea of creating Freedom Businesses take over the headlines. This idea that the internet is a tool that can liberate us, and we can - and ought to - use it to release ourselves from the shackles of a traditional job.

Trading time for money in what this movement refers to as a J. O. B. is, they say, anachronistic. We’ve evolved, and the way we earn money and provide for our families needs to evolve too.

It’s a lovely ideal, but it’s bullshit

For now. And that’s fine. See, it’s like an infomercial. Shit, it’s like any marketing for that matter. It’s delivered/pushed/discussed in such a way as to make us all believe it’s possible for each of us individually. And it is. But that’s not the point.

The point is that right now, it’s just something shiny. It’s something we all like to look at and think about getting. Something we might even fantasize about. But as with anything that seems to sweep in like a tidal wave and become ‘the thing’ overnight, it’s something that, for most people, is just a dream. Sure we see what looks like a ton of people succeeding at it, and we allow ourselves to imagine what that might be like, but we’re not bringing the right stuff to the table. As I said, we’re dreaming, that’s it.

Dreams are great, but they’re not enough

I love to dream. Who doesn’t? To imagine that perfect life, having everything I could ever want or need, raising my boys and loving my wife on the exact terms I choose? Never again worrying for money. Yes, dreaming is good, but it’s nowhere near enough.

But why is that? Why isn’t dreaming enough? It used to be. We used to have the ability to see the connection between where we are and where we want to be, and that made the dream achievable. But now? Not so much. Now we dream, and then we snap out of it and think about the mortgage or the credit card bills or the sketchy job market or the national debt or…

And we’re frozen. We’re stuck in this cycle of dissatisfaction, frustration, dream, doubt, fear, repeat. So yeah, Location Independence (or any other way you want to describe the idea of changing the way we think about work, money and the like) is a great idea. A lovely ideal. A wonderful dream that, while enticing, is surrounded by dissatisfaction and frustration and doubt and fear. Clearly our dream is outnumbered, and for most of us, that keeps it from finding its way to that miraculous intersection where dream meets reality.

But maybe that’s good.

Unrealized dreams can fuel change

There are a lot of reasons to be dissatisfied. And not just recently. The history of the past century, at least here in the US, has been the history of people relinquishing control of their livelihoods, their happiness, their attention and their thoughts to big business, big government and big religion.

Slowly but certainly we’ve gone from a position of strength to one of complete and total dependency. Confidence in our personal power, faith in the future and the temerity to believe in the possibilities, rather than risks, inherent to uncertainty, have been replaced by trepidation, indecisiveness and a total lack of conviction.

For so long (and from a very early age) we’ve had ‘acceptable’ defined for us. What behavior is acceptable. What beliefs are acceptable. What desires and preferences are acceptable. What physical appearance is acceptable. The list goes on. And at some point, the fight was lost and we fell in line. We stopped thinking for ourselves and questioning things that didn’t make sense. In short, we became exactly what they wanted us to be. Compliant. Satisfied. Excellent at following directions, not so excellent at charting our own course. In a word, dependent.

And because of our dependency, we can’t see the advantages corporations have been given, nor the systematic degradation of employees these advantages have encouraged. We can’t see the unprecedented extent to which our government - the one that was created by that beautiful constitution of ours - is controlled and manipulated by industry. We can’t see the immeasurable influence marketing and advertising has had on our choices, and on the way we view ourselves, the world, and our place in it.

And we can’t see that there’s an alternative.

Until we can. Even if only a little, and in the form of overly-hyped and, in an ironic coincidence, effectively marketed ideas about Lifestyle Design. Freedom Businesses. Life-Hacking.

We may not all have what it takes, at this moment, at least, to use the internet, and the tools which make it so powerful, to create the lives we desire. But the fact that it appears possible with absolutely no financial barriers to entry, makes it an amazing opportunity. Better still, an amazing ideal. One worth fighting for if only because it resets the playing field. It redistributes power and influence in a way we’ve never seen before, and in a way that has the potential to completely undo what I once thought was irreparable damage. It wont fix it overnight, but that’s cool. Believing that there is a fix might be enough. For now.

Because every revolution that ever was started with a belief in something better.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Milo January 13, 2011 at 3:34 am

Great post Jeb. I think the ‘truth’ of what the lifestyle designers say is somewhat obscured by the fact their message is also selling themselves and their products. But then, that’s the reality of what they do - they earn money in a different way to the traditional.

Will there be a cut-off point where everybody’s selling and nobody’s buying? Quite probably. But for now there are people out there who *want* help, and if you don’t offer to help them and let them know you exist, somebody else who has more self-belief will!


Jeb January 13, 2011 at 9:27 am

For sure Milo. And I don’t begrudge the self proclaimed life hackers a bit (well, not too much) becasuse they’re unwittingly paving the way for true change. Not the change they’re consciously promoting, but something bigger, deeper, and ultimately much more transformative and on a much larger scale.

This is my hope.


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