Having Freedom To(o)

I learned about a simple but kind of amazing concept called “freedom from” versus “freedom to” goals. It sounds suspiciously like the difference between being glass-half-empty or glass-half-full, but you know what they say, self-improvement ideas are notoriously incestuous (as I digress).

The basic idea is that “freedom from” goals are about trying to get away or avoid something we don’t want, while “freedom to” goals are about pursuing things we value or enjoy. To my dismay, I realized non-too-soon that most of my goals these days revolved around preventing something from happening.

For example, I woke up early today (like really early). On the one hand, I could tell myself I don’t want to wake up early, and wonder about how to stop this insomniac-al madness, or I could think about how much I enjoy writing, and yay! I get to write. I also enjoy publishing articles, and connecting with people in a meaningful way. So actually I feel pretty grateful right now.

A good mindfulness practice for today could be noticing how often you think about:

  • Things you don’t want to happen vs. things you do want to happen.
  • How you don’t want to lose what you have vs. what you want to have in your life.
  • How you don’t want to be criticized vs. doing what you enjoy.
  • And how you’re playing not to lose vs. playing to win.



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