The Freedom Myth

I had some free time on my sleeves yesterday during the Raya break. So I picked up John Maxwell’s The 360 Degree Leader, which is one of my favourite books ever!

In one of the starting chapters, he wrote about “The Freedom Myth” which talks about people’s misconception that being on top means owning a ticket to freedom.

He wrote:

“Have you ever have these thoughts?

  • When I get to the top, I’ll have it made.
  • When I finally finish climbing the corporate ladder, I’ll have time to rest.
  • When I own the company, I’ll be able to do whatever I want.
  • When I’m in charge, the sky is the limit.

Anybody who has owned a company or been the top leader in an organisation knows that those ideas are little more than fantasies.

It doesn’t matter what job you do or what position you obtain, you will have limits.”

I’m sure we all have these thoughts, especially when we are in positions where we are not fully in control, wishing that our bosses could have made better decisions and could free us from doing things we hate.

At the same time, we can’t help but be drawn to the greener grass the other side where entrepreneurs live. They don’t have to be stuck in rigid schedules and boring meetings. Their freedom to work from home is to die for. They can do whatever they want in their own style, at their own pace.

They have all the power to make decisions, and fix whatever’s not working without being constrained by protocols. They can set aside an entire month for travels without needing to put in any leave application. They don’t have to be held back by traffic jams and be slaves to ruthless bosses.

How NOT to love such a lifestyle?! Don’t you want to be running a business already?

The truth is, however, “having full freedom when you own a business” is really nothing more than an illusion.


That, I think, is the number 1 realisation any aspiring business owner need to have before jumping onto the seemingly-glamorous entrepreneur bandwagon.

I used to envy the lives of entrepreneurs too before being one. But now that I am finally in charge, I find that I am shouldering even heavier responsibilities. I now have a completely different set of challenges – which have never cropped up before as an employee.

Among them, do I have enough in my bank account to pay my staff? If I don’t, what should I be doing to generate more cash? Am I pricing my products right? How do I keep my employees motivated? What is my next business game plan? And the list goes on. On a whole, I am even more limited as a business owner than I was as an employee.

My motive of writing this article is not to discourage anybody from pursuing entrepreneurship. I applaud you for having a dream.

Pursue your dream. Materialse it but first, recognise at the onset that garnering full power to run your own show does not mean freeing yourself from limitations.

The path of entrepreneurship is bound to be filled with challenges and adversities. Recognise that those are limitations you choose willingly, but you are going to be limited just the same.






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