28: Freedom in Time, Money, Body, Mind, and Spirit
In this episode, we’re waxing philosophical once more. The topic: FREEDOM. The reason: we think that it’s the most important word in the world to focus on. And today, we’ll show you why...
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1. Bondage is sometimes entirely self-imposed, but we can discipline ourselves to escape this sort.
2. We should each value freedom, which allows us to achieve our greatest potential for happiness, although such results will differ from person to person in their details.
3. We should each freely choose to clarify the details of the sort of life that we ultimately want to live, devise a specific plan to achieve it, and start immediately to follow that plan.
4. We can freely choose activities that will enable ourselves to become freer in spending our time and/or money without health constraints, and also in enjoying feeling inner peace without either guilt or regret, and to maintain proper harmony between all such aspects of our lives.
5. Gaining freedom in one respect may require sacrificing some freedom in other respects, and not all sacrifices are worthwhile, so we shouldn’t sacrifice recklessly.
[02:01] Zach introduces the topic of freedom with a reference to William “Braveheart” Wallace.
[03:50] Thomas references Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.
[05:03] Zach cites the concept of multiple discoveries.
[06:07] Zach proposes to discuss five types of freedom, which involve our time, our finances, our health, our spirits, and our minds.
[06:28] Zach and Thomas note that becoming freer in one respect (like financially) may require becoming less free in other respects (like with time) due to opportunity costs.
[10:02] Zach defines “time freedom” as the ability to do what you want when you want, and Thomas adds that our time constraints are not always imposed by others but may be needlessly imposed by ourselves.
[13:57] Zach defines “financial freedom” as being able to do whatever work you want to do, when and where and how you want to do it, due to pleasure rather than necessity, and Thomas and Zach stress that we need to curb our avarice lest it spiral out-of-control.
[20:27] Thomas and Zach assert the importance of defining what freedom means to you, and Zach states that perception is subjective.
[24:20] Zach and Thomas explain how to set specific goals for financial freedom.
[27:53] Zach defines “health freedom” as the ability to do what you want when you want without health restrictions, and Thomas observes that financial freedom doesn’t matter if its pursuit destroys your life or health.
[31:33] Thomas defines “spiritual freedom” as being free from sin or addiction or guilt, which relates to our emotional and even social wellness, and urges that you shouldn’t pursue wealth at the expense of ethics; Zach agrees by citing some personal examples.
[35:59] Thomas defines “mental freedom” as inner peace, details the challenges with finding such peace in the Information Age, and encourages mindfulness.
[41:40] Zach invites listeners to imagine their respective lives without various blessings to better perceive what truly brings them happiness, and to remember the Biblical example of Job who lost nearly everything only to regain it (and more).
[42:48] Zach and Thomas reiterate that freedom can mean different things to different people, Zach tells an insightful story about a Brazilian fisherman, and Thomas explains mini-retirements.
[49:31] Zach advises seeking “holistic harmonization” in our lives.
[50:39] Thomas observes the irony of how entrepreneurs don’t necessarily want to retire when they’re finally able to do so.
[52:26] Zach counsels listeners to start immediately to increase their freedom, and to devise a specific plan for doing so.
[53:57] Zach and Thomas present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to Get Funded Today the Funded Today podcast. Last Wednesday as you might recall, we revisited our popular “Life After Crowdfunding” series with an episode on e-commerce, and how you can make your website a cash machine. The title sounds a bit hype, but I think you are going to love that episode, we really touched on a lot of important points and I think just applying a little bit it’s going to help you so, if you are struggling or even a successful e-commerce website and you’re wanting a build more that episode is for you. Now today, we’re waxing philosophical once more, the topic “Freedom” the reason “we think it’s the most important word in the world to focus on” and today we’ll show you why.
Announcer: (00:39) The Funded Today podcast is brought to you by fundedtoday.com. Funded Today, is a premier marketing and video agency from start-ups to Crowdfunding, to Amazon and beyond. Funded Today has helped their clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. If you’d like help launching or growing your business visit www.fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
Zach Smith: (01:05) Welcome back to the show, I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (01:09) And, I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (01:09) And just a quick reminder before we dive into the episode today, you can still download our ultimate Crowdfunding Success Guide fundedtoday.com/ guide, here is what our very own David Garber had to say about this guide “our crowdfunding guide unilaterally blows away any other guides that I’ve seen with respect to quality of content”. Hopefully you, our faithful podcast listeners and the market at large will agree. Also, we are going to be having David on the podcast soon, so you’re not going to want to miss that episode. He has probably the best voice you’ve ever heard, and I think hundreds of people have now said that, so if you’re having a rough day just tune into that episode and listening to David’s soothing voice is probably going to be very medicinal and beneficial to you so, anyway, with that out of the way. In our last episode we talked about how you can create and leverage an e-commerce website to be the driving force for your online business. We definitely going to want to go back and give that one a listen. If you’re really serious about becoming a serial entrepreneur and now today we are switching gears from brass tacks to a little bit more philosophical, once more because we think this concept gets neglected, more than perhaps any other in business and quite frankly even in our own personal lives, and today, our aim is to put a stop to that. So a little intro for you, William Wallace, one of the most iconic Scotsmen of all time serves as a great way to kick it off. In his iconic “make it or break it scene” Wallace is faced with convincing his countrymen to fight for the cause of freedom when most of them were scared, outnumbered, and simply really wanted to run away. Here’s how the scene unfolds Wallace starts it with this “I am William Wallace, and I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny, you’ve come to fight as free men, and free men you are what will you do without freedom will you fight? And then the young soldier replies “no we will run and live”. William Wallace replies “yes fight and you may die, run and you will live at least a while”, and dying in your bed many years from now would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here as young men and tell our enemies they may take our lives but they will never take our “Freedom” I love that. And of course, it was inspirational and his speech inspired Scotsmen throughout the country to rally to the cause of freedom, and even though William Wallace ultimately suffered death because of his example and his bravery, “Robert the Bruce” was able to eventually make Scotland a free country. So, with that “Freedom”, Thomas, how did we come up with this, what are we trying to go out with the episode today. And maybe very briefly just a little bit more of an introduction, how we came up with this idea. Tell me a little bit about Franklin D Roosevelt Thomas and your idea on that.
Thomas Alvord: (03:50) I remember, when I was in college learning about FDR or Franklin President. Roosevelt, he had a Union Speech, and I believe it was 1941, and he talked about “Freedom of Speech and “Freedom of Worship” which are the hallmarks of US Constitutional Law right, they’re embedded in the First Amendment to the Constitution right. “Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Worship”, but then he augmented that, and in a way almost changed the definition of Freedom, and how we maybe think or look at Freedom, because in addition to “Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship” he added Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear, which in a way it’s like “yes that’s not really possible as human dry”, in a way it’s kind of a socialistic view on things to have “Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want”, because I think even if your wants are satiated or fulfilled you’re always going to have more wants and philosophically can you ever have that again that’s not the point of this, but the point is he had his “Four Freedoms, Speech, Worship, Want and Fear”, Freedom from Want and Fear that is.
Zach Smith: (05:04) And then I came in, and I backtracking a little bit I was talking to Thomas and I said hey I’ve got this idea for Freedoms, I’ve been talking about it I don’t know for probably a year and half, two years now and as we were putting together this podcast episode Thomas brought up FDR, and his famous state of the “Union Speech” in his four freedoms, it made me think of a book I’m reading recently called “Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert” she is the famous author behind “Eat, Pray, Love” and she talked about this idea of multiple discovery and I got interested and curious like I seemed to always do want things, and she writes multiple discovery is the idea where two or more people come up with the same idea at the same time. And then there’s examples of this if you, if you look further a calculus analytic geometry, oxygen, even the theory of evolution had multiple and I put it in “inventors” but they’re really just discovers because it was already kind of out there and people were discovering these types of things the same time, and it made me think in some ways well here is FDR with his four freedoms I had no clue about it, but Thomas brought it to my attention, and Thomas said oh that’s great we should absolutely talk about that, and then I said Thomas “My Five Freedoms” here is kind of what they are, we think you’re going to like this episode, we think you’re going to get a lot out of it, so with no further ado for “Funded Today Five Types of Freedom”. Number one “Time Freedom”, number two “Financial Freedom”, number three “Health Freedom”, number four “Spiritual Freedom” and number five “Mental or Inner Peace Freedom”, that’s the overview “Time, Financial, Health, Spiritual, Mental or Inner Peace Freedom”. Now, I want to talk a little bit about what each one means a little bit more so Thomas let’s expand upon it a bit.
Thomas Alvord: (06:35) Why talk about these freedoms, and I think going back why did we come up with these, what caused us to start thinking about these, it’s so often when you’re an entrepreneur, when you’re in business what does everybody talk about. They talk about do you have Financial Freedom, and yes that is one element of freedom to look at, but there’s more to it than just Financial Freedom. As an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a manager if you’re maybe working at a company what freedom are you going for, and at what cost of other freedoms, because it’s not just about “Financial Freedom” even though that’s the buzzword everybody talks about.
Zach Smith: (07:21) You’ve probably heard the same before, if you’re an entrepreneur and if you haven’t I will gladly introduce it to you but, it’s actually kind of sick and twisted, and I’ll explain to you after I share it, Entrepreneurship is the only job where you quit working 9:00 to 5:00 for the boss, so you can work 16 to 20 hours for yourself, and people laugh and they smile at it and they’ll go look that’s cute, that’s funny but that’s the reason why these five freedoms need to be more focused, they need to be around there because like Thomas mentioned what’s that one hinting on, that one’s hinting on your “Time Freedom”, oh I’m an entrepreneur, I’m free I’ve got this Financial Freedom.
Thomas Alvord: (07:58) I say it a little differently Zach.
Zach Smith: (08:01) Okay.
Thomas Alvord: (08:01) Yes, you own your own business, you don’t have certain hours you have to work, because you’re actually working 24/7, because even if you’re not working on the business, your mind won’t shut off, at least that’s how it is for me.
Zach Smith: (08:13) That’s the “Mental Inner Peace Freedom” in some ways.
Thomas Alvord: (08:15) Exactly, your Mental Freedom at what cost and what other freedoms are you giving up?
Zach Smith: (08:24) It’s almost like an opportunity cost kind of thing, waxing a little bit economical here and opportunity cost for those who don’t know it’s simply, if I choose to go to the gym now then I can’t choose to go play a soccer game at the same time. If I choose to weight lift then I can’t run, right. When you do one thing you lose the opportunity to be able to do another thing.
Thomas Alvord: (08:46) If I choose to spend time on my business then I’m choosing not to spend time with my kids, or not to spend time watching a movie, or not to spend time doing whatever else it might be, and so it is a tradeoff.
Zach Smith: (08:58) Exactly.
Thomas Alvord: (08:59) And, it’s not just all about, because at the end of the day as well, if you’re pursuing Financial Freedom, it’s not actually just the Financial Freedom you’re after. In reality, I would pause it, it’s all of these freedoms that people are after in their pursuit of financial freedom.
Zach Smith: (09:16) Everybody gets excited about sipping a martini by the beach and flying in your private jet, driving their fancy Lamborghinis and all these other things that look more like Financial Freedom, but in reality they don’t get pass. Let me think of an iceberg right, you just see the tip of the iceberg, and the tip of the iceberg is guy or gal at the beach, tanning in the sun, looking out at the ocean and driving the luxury car that’s what people see. But really like you mentioned Thomas and I think you said it better than I could, the actual freedoms that you truly want are the ones underneath that surface that you don’t necessarily recognize and we hope that’s what this episode is going to do for you, to help you unlock what those other types of freedoms are, so you can achieve them a lot quicker than perhaps Thomas and I have been able to do, is that fair to say.
Thomas Alvord: (10:00) Absolutely, let’s dive into the “Freedoms”.
Zach Smith: (10:01) All right so “Time Freedom” what does that mean? The ability to do what you want, when you want, when you want to whenever, I mean and these are my definitions as well. So, feel free to improvise in the comments or say well here is what I think “Time Freedom” is we’re still working these out, this is still a hypothesis in many ways, it’s a working experiment for us as well, because we love them so much but we want everybody to contribute to these so that we can really create something great here.
Thomas Alvord: (10:24) I would also add the “Time Freedom” that you’re not stressed out or continually stressed out. If your schedule is such that maybe you’re doing what you want to do. If you’re stressed you’re probably not doing it when you want to then you have control over how you’re structuring things, and I realize that’s not available for everybody right, because maybe you’re in school, maybe you have a family, maybe you’re currently having to continue working at your current job while you’re working on a start-up, or maybe you’re just focused on your current business right, and so you have other people, I actually was talking to a good friend of mine who acts kind of as a sounding board and a consultant, and I was sharing how I had been stressed a bit, he said “yes why don’t you think through, are these demands you’re setting on yourself or these demands from other people” because some of them are literally just myself saying I need to do this, I need to do this, because that’s kind of my personality like oh I got to get this done, but it’s like there’s not really any real deadline, in a way and this is kind of a tangent. My brother shared this with me when he was actually in Brazil doing service there he called it the “Cat Reflex”. He said it’s the strangest thing that when you’re walking down the street, and you know you need to cross the street, you feel like you need to cross like you see a car coming and you’re like “oh let’s go cross the street right now even though you could probably walk for another half mile before you even need to cross the street”. But because something is coming, it makes you feel like I got to do this right now even though that’s something that’s coming has nothing to do with when you actually need to get it done, he calls it the “Cat Reflex” right, you’re driving and a dog or cat like darts out in front of you it’s like what the heck like -- the cat or dog could have came out at any time, but for some reason here’s this event that makes them feel I got to go right now, but you don’t really need to go right then, you really could wait and you’re putting yourself in danger, or in this case you’re just stressing yourself with something that doesn’t need to be done right then, and that’s kind of like me I feel like “oh! I got to get this done, I got to get this done, and then it hasn’t even been on my mind for however many months” but for some reason it becomes more emphasized or something happens I’m like I got to get this done and so yes that “Time Freedom’ right, another thing to look at, who are stating those constraints on you, is it yourself, or is it somebody else, because again and we’ll talk about this later that “Time Freedom” might be a lot closer or accessible than you realize including myself.
Zach Smith: (12:53) Well, Thomas I really like that and I can absolutely relate to that myself as well, and it made me think of the concept of to act or to be acted upon, unfortunately for you and the examples that you shared and even with the “Cat Reflex” one, you are the one able to act there, and I think that that’s powerful. The more options that we have in life where we’re the ones taking acts more, we’re the ones doing what is necessary the better, because if you are always constantly being acted upon, because of somebody else, because of some other demand that you must respond to that’s definitely restricting your “Time Freedom” and probably even getting into number five your “Mental Freedom” as well. So, the good part about your dilemma is it’s more recognition, and sound like you’re well on your way to recognizing that and by recognizing that you realize well it’s me here, I’m the one acting on this and I get to control that, and as long as I can control that, and think through that I will be able to have the “Time Freedom” I need them by talking about this and working it through with my mentors another guides and people that helped me my life my “Mental Inner Peace Freedom” will improve as well. All right “Financial Freedom” number two, I define this one is the ability to not have to work or if you want to work to work only when, where, how you want to work. And if you do want to work to only do work that you love or enjoy. So I define “Financial Freedom” pretty specifically but I also gave a lot of caveats as well, Thomas, your thoughts on “Financial Freedom”, this is the main one that everybody see is right like I’ve said multiple times in this episode already the fancy cars, the beach houses, the private jet, a lot of the kind of things that you visualize in your head when you’re imagining what Financial Freedom might look like.
Thomas Alvord: (14:36) I would add that it’s the freedom to have experiences or to make acquisitions that you want to, that you’re free to do that, and here’s the irony, and I believe I’ve shared this in one of the podcast, and this is from the Richest Man in Babylon, a book on “Money Management and Investing” and how to invest wisely and prudently. But he says something that is so true he says “wants are in insatiable and so you have to learn to curb and limit your wants”. If you look at somebody who is say Mark Zuckerberg you think man they could just buy whatever they want, but it’s so interesting as I’ve looked at and thought the more wealthy somebody gets what happened, how did they spend their money? It’s Zuckerberg going and buying part of an island or an island like off of Hawaii I forget exactly what the details were right, so it’s like man, no matter how much you make right for me it’s like okay I would love a beach house, but then if you make more it’s like well yes you could have a jet. Well, after you have a jet you could have your own island, and by the way islands aren’t necessarily that expensive. Some of them you can buy for like $50,000, so the point is in a way nobody is actually completely financially free, where they literally can do anything they want for the rest of their life, and if they could, I don’t even think it would be healthy for us as humans. It’s actually an irony and I’m almost hesitant to say this, this is going to be one of the first times I say this out loud, and people will look at this and like all the moron like I can’t believe he have audacity to say that, and not that I wish that I was a poor, but sometimes I look at and I think, you know, it almost would be easier if I didn’t have any money, or if I didn’t have the money I have, because here’s what happens, I have money and, so your wants are going to be commensurate with your money -- with your revenue, at least that’s how it has been for me. But I have to tell myself no I’m not going to buy that, and so the reason I’m saying no I’m not going to buy that is not because I don’t have the money, and not because I can’t get a loan, or not because I can go buy it, but simply because me, myself saying I’m not going to buy that, that’s not prudent for me to use my money like that, I don’t want to spend my money like that. Whereas, if I was in a different situation I wouldn’t have to be making that choice myself, I would be forced to make that choice because that choice wouldn’t even be available to me. And again that sounds super snobby but is a reality, you have to learn to be like “no I’m not going to buy that, I’m not going to buy that, I going to live frugal, I’m going to live off 5% of what I make”, because I don’t know what can happen a year from that.
Zach Smith: (17:34) And Thomas you touch on some great points and I think some of our most faithful listeners will recall our episode where we talk about the book “Fables of Fortune” and I think some of the points you’ve hit on there would be a great recap for those who haven’t listened or just to go back and listen to that episode because that book is about an attorney for some the most wealthy people in the world, and his experiences working with them and the lessons and takeaways that he had, like, like, Thomas says it might sound crazy the way he’s talking but it’s actually backed by facts and data in this book. It’s kind of a – it was a revelation to me as I read it as well, just what you deal with as you kind of go up that financial spectrum, but like I promised earlier when Thomas was speaking a lot of these things are not as hard as they’re seen, you want a Lamborghini if you can probably get one for $80,000 to a $100,000 and no one is going to know the difference. You want a private island…
Thomas Alvord: (18:26) Well, and if you want to rode on that could you afford to pay $2,000 or $3,000 a month.
Zach Smith: (18:31) Yes, if you wanted a loan to get that.
Thomas Alvord: (18:32) If you really want a Lamborghini if that’s the “Financial Freedom” you want and I also talk about the deception of name the different ways, but the deception of prosperity I would say the majority of people who have a Lambo are actually dirt poor, the people who have wealth don’t have the Lambo.
Zach Smith: (18:50) Great book on that “The Millionaire Next Door” it’s another one of those books, it’s kind of eye-opening where you learn that some of the richest people in the world actually don’t have a lot of the things that you associate in your mind, whether consciously or not with wealth, it was kind of another counterintuitive type thing ironic I guess you could say.
Thomas Alvord: (19:08) Well and if we were to talk about the Lambo the Lamborghini to me that’s not Financial Freedom, because if you really want the Lambo you can go get the Lambo right, if you can make say however much you need so you could put $2,000 or $3,000 a month towards your auto payment. I view that more as Toy Freedom that you could just go by toys and in a way yes you could go rack up the debt and do that Financial Freedom is.
Zach Smith: (19:33) It’s a subcategory of Financial Freedom. Now let’s not talk about let’s say you wanted to buy at free and clear you could probably buy a Lambo for $80,000 to $100,000 if you got it used or got it used or got it, got to go on or something.
Thomas Alvord: (19:42) I love convertibles right, and I was looking at getting a Ferrari Convertible because they have four seats, because I got a kid so it's hey, yes I need to be practical with my Ferrari if that’s kind of an oxymoron I guess, but by looking at you know brand new ones only $220,000, and a used is $120,000 and here is the interesting thing right, you see I see a lot of people driving around in Porsche’s right, a Porsche Cayenne, or a Porsche whatever and those are about a new or about the same price as a used Ferrari the convertible, and again some Ferrari’s go up to like $1 million. But again, the point is, is that really what you want with the Financial Freedom we think that is I think also part of this conversation Zach is for people who think if they want Financial Freedom define it and I think it gets harder to define, and maybe it’s like I forget which Justice of the Supreme Court talking about pornography he says I don’t know how to define it but I know what it is when I see it was something like that.
Zach Smith: (20:46) And I think it’s important to define it now too you may not be wealthy yet but you may be trying to become that way, the more you figure this stuff out before, this is Thomas and I, I guess preaching a little bit, but we probably didn’t understand what we were getting ourselves into as we continue to climb that ladder to Financial Freedom, and we’re telling you this now so that when you get there you’ll have a lot more perspective and a lot more control over what these definitions mean to you and what they, what you actually want, so is that your life doesn’t have to radically change, it can already be the I mean the goal of this episode is you can be free now essentially, you can, you can have all these things we’re talking about much quicker than you ever imagined and you don’t have to go in the deck, you don’t have to do anything too much more crazy than you’re doing now.
Thomas Alvord: (21:30) Let me share a case study that brings us not to some hypothetical and Lambo stuff right but like right now myself, I have been homeschooling my kid, I spend about an hour and a half every morning with him and then my wife spend some time with him in the evening, and on the one hand I like it because it’s I love learning and even though I’m learning yes if it’s math stuff I’m teaching a multiplication I already know that right, but if I go back to science and I was just mentioning to you yesterday right Zach, if I’m learning about amoebas and algae it’s like yes I’ve learned about that, but relearning it is fun for me right.
Zach Smith: (22:07) Absolutely.
Thomas Alvord: (22:08) But I look at it and I was just telling my wife last night I’m like it stresses me out, the most important time for me to be doing work is in the morning right, that’s where you’re going to get the best work done, and I’m spending that doing the homeschooling. Yes I like it, but it stresses me out because if there’s other stuff I need to get done, and what am I working towards right because I think okay I’m working towards being able to get to a spot wherein three to five years I completely retire, and I don’t have to worry about work and there are some other nonprofit stuff that I’m working on, I would still be working but I’m not working for money right. I’m not working to build a business for revenue that’s already covered, but the reality is right now where we’re at and the team that works and does stuff if I work two hours a day and just did Funded Today stuff I would be it would workout, it would be fine right, so it’s this weird situation because I’m like okay I don’t have time really to be spending with my kid doing a home-school in the morning because I want to build this so that I can retire so then spend time with my kid. It’s this weird situation where even though mentally, like emotionally it’s something hard right, it’s different even though you talk about intellectually it’s learning how to look at these items because it’s not like “Hey! here’s the truth” it’s very clear just go do this right, it’s seeing these principles or, seeing them in a new life or considering them from a different angle and then realizing how do these principles apply to me because I think for myself do I have the financial freedom, the answer is yes or no, kind of like I say, whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right. Do you think you have the time or you don’t have the time, you’re probably right. Do you think you have the financial freedom or not you’re probably right, it’s actually probably more and it’s, it’s really just how you look at a situation that emotionally you’re going to feel like, kind of like the cat right, do you feel you need to cross right now or not it’s really just your perception.
Zach Smith: (24:04) One of our company core values at Funded Today perspective is a private experience. I was told that by a Philosopher from Harvard when I was going through some tough times in my life and I’ve kind of held that with me ever since and it truly is whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right perspective is a private expense it’s probably another way to say that, I want to go nuts and bolts on Financial Freedom just very briefly. The idea is to not have to work so let’s talk about money because everybody wants to talk about money. Here’s the way to do it figure how much money you’re spending every month, look at your credit card, look at your debit cards, look at your bank statement go back over the last year divide that number by 12 so let’s say you spend make the math easy let’s say you spend $120,000 a year so you divide that by 12 you spend $10,000 a month obviously you may spend more, you may spend less. Now, in order to have Financial Freedom you have to make $10,000 a month it’s as simple as that to make that money according to our definition you need to make it without working, or if you’re working it’s because you actually want to do it, because it’s work that you love and you’re only working when you want to do it so those are the definitions of buying that so then you say well how can I get there, as soon as you’re there and you have $10,000 a month coming in you are financially free right, I mean we can get into all of the nitty-gritty well we got to make maybe $15,000 because you got to pay taxes, and state tax and you got other stuff you can get into weeds and all that, but the point is, it is as simple as figuring out how much your monthly expenses are, figuring out how much revenue you need to match that and then defining your Financial Freedom by only doing work you love and only working when you want to work and then you’re financially free. And for me get this I only need about $4,500 a month, and I’m financially free that’s me, my situation maybe its little different because all my cards are paid off, all my houses are paid off, that sort of thing and so my monthly expenses maybe aren’t as high as others or maybe they’re pretty much in line with the average American. I don’t know I haven’t necessarily looked at that, but if I can make $4,500 a month I’m perfectly fine to do whatever I want to do in terms of my other freedoms, because my Financial Freedom is absolutely taking care. And fortunately for me that $4,500 a month comes in passively and residually through lots of different things that I have whether investments, residual income, the businesses that I’ve created and another people working for me all those sorts of things, those are episodes in and off themselves but Financial Freedom is as simple as defining what your expenses are, figuring out how much revenue you need, and then defining the work required to get to that revenue as being work you love, work you do when you want to do and then you’re there. And I think a lot of people again don’t realize that Thomas it’s not like I need $1 million in my bank account I’ve actually said this a hundred times would you rather have a $1 million in your bank account or $10,000, $20,000 whatever the number is a month coming impassively for the rest of your life, and for me it’s obviously the latter, I’d rather just have money coming impassively the rest of my life because sure I could take the $1 million I could invest that I could do all those other things, but then that’s getting into my Mental Health Freedom that’s getting into my Time Freedom potentially to manage it, and that’s potential affecting my Financial Freedom because if I somehow destroy that NASDAQ [ph] I’m not financially free anymore. So for me, passive income coming in the way I wanted to come in with work that I love doing is Financial Freedom and that’s my definition of it. What do you think Thomas anything else to add on that one?
Thomas Alvord: (27:35) I don’t know if I’d have too much more to add and I don’t think there is one definition, but if that something people are looking for how would you define it, is it the ability to do the activities you want or is it the ability to not have to work anymore for the rest of your life, and I think it will be different for each person.
Zach Smith: (27:55) Agreed, all right number three Health Freedom. And I have been defining all these as the ability, Time Freedom the ability to do what you want, Financial Freedom the ability to not have to work. Health freedom the ability to do what you want, when you want because your health fitness does not restrict you I probably should say the freedom, the freedom to do what you want. Because each of these are freedoms I’m defining freedoms as abilities and maybe that’s not the best word choice either but Health Freedom the ability to do what you want, when you want because your health, your fitness does not restrict you in any way Thomas, I think you got all kinds of personal examples from this one and I probably have a couple from my life as well in fact I probably came up with these freedoms because of, because of dealing with some health freedom things. I was working so much on business and I was slaving away so much as an entrepreneur that I kind of let my health get away from me I didn’t necessarily get fat or overweight, but I wasn’t the Zach Smith athlete that I always kind of envision myself and that was kind of like a stare in the mirror, oh no what have I done kind of moment, and then I also had a couple of health scares where I realized I need to start exercising more, I needed to start eating healthier and all kinds of things like that because although I had Time Freedom, although I had Financial Freedom, although I had all the other freedoms we’re talking about my Health Freedom was severely restricting things, and in essence I had none of the freedoms because my health was not where I needed it to be.
Thomas Alvord: (29:13) I would add being able to live healthily, and pain free and I realize that might not be a freedom or a luxury that everybody has, some people might have a disease they get or reborn with a certain condition, but to the extent that we have influence over what we take into our body and what we do with our body to have that freedom. I know the next freedom is Spiritual Freedom, but in terms of Health Freedom, freedom from drugs, from alcohol, addiction or abuse. To have that freedom to be in control because and again this is in the context of entrepreneurs, business owners, and pursuing financial freedom is kind of the pinnacle of freedoms, but at what cost right, do you, you drive your health into the ground, what does the Financial Freedom matter if you die early or if you have a heart attack? So that Health Freedom is recognizing, and I think for any of these right what if you completely lost your health and had a heart attack and you died. What does it matter right like Jesus and many other great teachers have taught that after you die you don’t take that with you what you work for something in your whole life, and then because of that you lose your health, and you lose it all right, think about the Health Freedom, because it is an impact especially for the entrepreneur more than perhaps anybody else, because you’re bootstrapping, you’re working nonstop, you’re putting in so many hours that can cause a drain on your health.
Zach Smith: (30:54) And it’s interrelated to one thing you might notice with all these freedoms as you hearing us to find them all you like well these lines they seem blur, they seem like they’re coming over, I can see our Health Freedom could be little bit of Mental Freedom. I can see our Health Freedom gets into your Financial Freedom because maybe you got a lot of bills to pay and suddenly it’s cutting into your Financial Freedom or your Time Freedom because you can’t get things done because you’re sick or you have issues and that’s why I think we want you to understand about these different freedoms as well as the interconnectedness of them all, and you can’t just say I need the Lambo on the beach and I’m good because all of these things play a part into ultimate freedom. So Health Freedom lot to think about there like Thomas mentioned number four Spiritual Freedom, Thomas, how do we define this one?
Thomas Alvord: (31:39) I would say that you’re free from sin and addiction that would cause you to really engage in any type of behavior that you don’t want to or that you’re addicted to, I would also add being free from grudges or fighting with others right. We don’t really have like a social freedom in here meaning having a healthy relationships or being free from that which would kind of drag you down socially whether they’re friends, acquaintances, partners etcetera, I’ve kind of heard emotional and spiritual and even social elements kind of been wrapped together. The idea is that you’re free from sin, and I realize, especially in today’s age that could be a can of worms right that’s going to be different for so many different people, and how they interpret that, those behaviors, those things that you do that cause you to feel bad or that your feel is not right, being free from that so you live your life happily, so you live your life guilt free, so you live your life knowing that you’re doing good to others. And again this kind of ties and if you pursue well at the expense of your ethics and morals then what does that matter, who cares if you have Financial Freedom if you’re lying and stealing and doing all these things that are causing harm to others.
Zach Smith: (33:13) Yes, I love that, touching on the addiction one and this like we said could probably fit under health just as well as spiritual, but I have a lot of alcoholics within my extended family and the ideas that you don’t want to do these things but you’re addicted to this so you have to do it I mean prescription drugs, the opioid, epidemic and all that stuff going on now it’s absolutely real and I’ve experienced some of these things firsthand because of people in my extended family who have gone through those issues and literally lost their families. My grandma, on my dad side and grandpa they raised their cousin they did so because mom and dad were complete alcoholics and literally to the point where they were scary and dangerous and they couldn’t do anything other than drink, it was such a terrible addiction and there’s always a saying in the Smith family “alcoholism runs in your family, don’t ever take one sip of alcohol” and I’ve kind of follow that policy whether for health reasons or just because of the stories that I’ve heard growing up, but when I see examples like this firsthand and it helps me realize just how much they lost right not even been able to raise their kids and having my grandparents have to raise my dad’s cousins, as their her own children because of what these people did with relation to alcohol. So it’s so important to be able to be free from lying, cheating, stealing, addiction, and those sorts of things because it allows you to have that Mental Inner Peace Freedom, which is the one we say for number five at the end because it feels so good to know that what you have achieved was done the right way, and there’s nothing in the world that can take that away. I’ve been pitched on businesses, and I’ve even considered businesses before where it looked very lucrative it looked like I could make a lot of money, but it didn’t ring well with my conscience in fact in one place I would’ve made millions of dollars, but I just felt a very strong impression to get out and I did and sure enough it did make millions of dollars and I didn’t make anything on it, but I don’t really have any regrets in fact I have none because I see what they did to get there it doesn’t make me happy to think of how they did and it makes me extremely happy to know that I followed that conscience that poison side in my head whatever you want to call it to make the right decision, and because I did so together with Thomas and everybody at our company we were able to create an amazing company well we’re proud of the inventions that we felt bring to life and the millions of dollars we’ve raised for thousands of people, and when you can go to sleep and put your head down on the pillow and know that you are actually doing something good and you can see the positive externalities from the good that you’ve done that mental peace, that inner freedom we call it “no stress, no worries” it’s probably the greatest feeling in the world.
Thomas Alvord: (36:04) And talking about “no stress, no worries” that leads us to this last freedom, the Mental Freedom or the Inner Peace Freedom, and how would you define that Zach?
Zach Smith: (36:15) So what if you’re still happy and at peace but you are not free on any of the above what sort of freedom is this it’s got to be your mental peace, your inner peace freedom. The easiest way to think about is when you close your eyes and you go to bed at night what is going through your mind, if you’ve got no stress, no worries going through your mind and you can also just feel like you have a clear conscience however you define that, that’s a wonderful feeling to have, I think that’s the best way to define Mental Inner Peace Freedom what about you Thomas?
Thomas Alvord: (36:43) Life generally speaking, and I feel that as life gets more technical, as life gets faster it is harder to have mental freedom, this is the one thing that I feel that I’m trying to work on or that I would say I wish I had more of this right, because it’s elusive. Back in the day people lived an Agrarian Lifestyle, grew up on a farm, I actually look and think if I was born 300 years ago, yes there would be so many luxuries I would give up, but in a way I almost think man that would be amazing. To be able to live on a farm you just go out and work, you’re working with the animals right, when you’re done you’re just sitting outside, reading a book or talking as the winds blowing across the grass in the field right, it’s just peaceful, it’s serene that does not exist right, like biz notification, biz notification you know me Zach I literally unsubscribe from every single email list there is not a single email list that I stay subscribed to, not one it does not matter what it is none at all.
Zach Smith: (37:51) I know you’re struggling with Mental Inner Peace Freedom but Thomas is a good example of somebody trying to conquer that at every way possible for sure.
Thomas Alvord: (37:57) And I mentioned, my wife was actually just two days ago on Sunday she was teaching at church -- a Sunday school lesson with the seven year olds, she was asked to substitute so she had done and she came back and she said “oh my goodness, they were crazy, they did not know how to sit still, they were so rambunctious” and my seven-year-old I was like oh how was William she’s like he actually sat there I was like I wonder if that was because like my wife was there or if he’s usually like that, anyway, I was thinking I wonder in the future I told this to my wife, I said I think in the future there’s going to be an epidemic, and the epidemic will not be financial, it will not be health, it will not be some of the other epidemics that we used to have in the past or that we have now say with obesity, but the epidemic will be an epidemic of focus that nobody will know how to focus because kids are growing up on screens we’re exposed to screens, we’re exposed to so much marketing, and so many gadgets and apps that buy for our attention that it’s nearly impossible to just be able to sit still and be focused. And I obviously could be totally wrong, but that’s what I see and I feel it.
Zach Smith: (39:22) I love it.
Thomas Alvord: (39:22) Even with myself and seeing these kids and that’s also I’m like I wondered when I was seven years old and me and my peers who are in the Sunday school classes were we that rambunctious and almost unruly or is it different? I think it’s different because I can even see and feel it with myself right, and having to create habits to say no if I’m out on a day I don’t look at my phone or the harder one I’m done with work I’m at home with my kids so yes I’m there, but I’m actually present right.
Zach Smith: (39:53) Compartmentalizing things is so much harder in the 21st Century because everything is blurred as one, your phone is your workplace a lot of the times, and your email lives everywhere, and your notifications are incessant, and again let’s talk about the opioid epidemic, let’s talk about anxiety, let’s talk about depression those things are prevalent and talked about more so now than ever before, because they exist more now than they did in the past, because they are more prevalent now than they were in the past and why I think it’s absolutely because of the incessant constant interruptions in our lives that allow us to have no inner peace, no mental freedom.
Thomas Alvord: (40:35) I really feel that this freedom in a way really influences and impacts all of the other freedoms, because it’s what gives us control in my opinion or how we run our day, for what we go spend our time on, and for even how we view the world and being content and happy with it. Say with our Financial Freedom, or our Health Freedom and so that Mental Freedom I have right here TIME did a magazine that was just on -- TIME has a magazine that they came out with recently called “Mindfulness” and it’s all about being mindful. I know right now it’s kind of in vogue which kind of a hip thing, but I really feel part of the reason is because of so much distraction and how bombarded we are with everything vying for our attention, and I think it’s going to become more and more popular and something that becomes more common in the workplace that we do ourselves because without it we’re just going to be so bombarded and that’s Mental Freedom.
Zach Smith: (41:43) I love that Thomas “Mindfulness” now we’re going to really kind of bring it all home. And this is a rhetorical question that I want you all to ask yourself as you’re listening to this episode. Take away your business success, are you still happy, take away whatever it is that you love are you still happy? The Biblical Story of Joph for those who haven’t heard it before, he was a very successful individual basically had an amazing dream life, wonderful wife, kids, land, property, success, wealth he lost it all. Throughout the entire time though he exhibited perfect, inner peace, mental freedom, he never doubted and because of that he gained everything he lost and more and I think there’s a powerful principal in that story because like Thomas mentioned if we have that inner peace, if we have that Mental Freedom and that is our anchor it allows us to get through anything else in life so that we can ultimately come out on top and that’s why we say that one for the fifth position in our five freedoms. And like Thomas writes these freedoms are not an either/or but there are continual presumably nobody has all these freedoms. Thomas is open up to you, I’m open up to you, we are not a 100% on all of these, and these freedoms influence and interact with each other and in many different ways, Thomas tell us the story of surfing a little bit, the surf bum.
Thomas Alvord: (43:10) Well it’s just interesting right. I’ve mentioned to you before that I would love to have a beach house right, going to the beach, body boarding, surfing, even though I still need to learn how to surf a lot better yes I love to do, and I’m thinking on I need to work, earn enough money, be able to retire to be able to go do this but here you have the surf bum who is actually able to go do that, he has that time freedom so to speak, to just go do that and surf and do what he loved. Now he probably has no Financial Freedom, but then again, how do you define Financial Freedom. A Financial Freedom is having enough finance to go do what you love the beach bum even though he’s dirt poor has Financial Freedom. Now maybe he might not have the money to go travel or do other things so in that sense he doesn’t.
Zach Smith: (44:00) And his Mental Health Freedom he might be worrying about “hey I’m living a good life now in my 20’s, in my 30s but then when I get to my 40s and 50s and my body is not quite there am I going to be able to surf still or how am I going to take care of myself and that’s where all these freedoms interrelate again.
Thomas Alvord: (44:14) Or if he is smoking and doing drugs and dragging down his quality of life, then yes, his health freedom will suffer and then have a negative impact over time on those other freedoms of his or hers.
Zach Smith: (44:30) Absolutely. We have an amazing story that we want to tell now. Kind of like Thomas I’ve been hinting about this whole episode and what we want you to get away from it is this you might be a lot closer to more fully experiencing all of these freedoms then you realize and here’s is our favorite Brazilian folk tell as told by “Paulo Coelho, illustrating this principal” I think you’re going to love it. There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village, as he sat he saw a Brazilian fishermen rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish, the businessman was impressed and asked this fisherman how long does it take you to catch so many fish, the fisherman replied, oh just a short while then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more the businessman was astonished, this is enough to feed my whole family the fisherman said, the businessman then asked so what do you do for the rest of the day. The fisherman replied “Well I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish and go back and play with my kids, in the afternoon I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes I join my buddies in the village, we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night. The businessman offered to suggestion to the fisherman I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.” The fisherman continues, “And after that what should I do?” The businessman laughs heartily, after that you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks, “and after that?” The businessman says, “after that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the whole entire night”, the fisherman was puzzled, isn’t that what I am doing right now, I just love that story, it’s so good in so many ways
Thomas Alvord: (46:44) How many of us if we wanted to could work four hours a day, and I realize a lot would be saying there’s absolutely no way I can do this. So the question isn’t how many could do it right now but get into a position where they find a job or get in a position where they work four hours a day or 20 hours a week and basically do this same thing, because we look at it and think oh that’s silly why would you want all that Financial Freedom to retire to go do what you are already doing, but how many of us could get to a spot and right now might seem impossible, but if we wanted to-to get to a spot to go do that. And if you look at the “4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris”, he says the same thing in different words. He talks about having a mini retirement, getting to a place where you have money coming in and then going and doing what you love because also another things which is why is that Tim Ferris says is you’re working towards retirement and you don’t even know if what you’re going go do you even enjoy, he talks about mini retirements and going and doing that for a few weeks or month and seeing if you like it or not.
Zach Smith: (47:55) You and I’ve talked about this rent a Lambo, go to somewhere a little bit exotic but just stay there for a day or two so it doesn’t break you and see what you like and see what you don’t like test things out we talked about this on a couple of episodes and it’s so powerful to do because, I do not like golf, for whatever reason I’ve been golfing maybe seven to 10 times in my life now and every time I go I just not really in love with it and a lot of people like oh you’re rich I just golf every day, in fact I hear that probably more than anything else. I would golf oh I would just golf at the country club, you should get a membership with the country club and everybody tells me this and every time I try even though I’ve went in with a really good and attitude and I love sports and I consider myself fairly athletic, for whatever reason, when I golf I just don’t love it and I know that when I retire “I won’t golf” because I’ve done many vacations, I’ve done many golf trips or I just don’t like it and I found things I like and I found things that I don’t like and I think it’s powerful to do and that’s absolutely wise advice Thomas.
Thomas Alvord: (48:51) We bring the Lambo up because that’s maybe the quintessential the person made it as Financial Freedom like flashy but for me I don’t care about a Lambo for most people I don’t think, they’re thinking I wish I could retire and I’d have a Lambo right but whatever that is in your mind because if I look at myself we were just talking about this earlier you and I we both love to read, right so if that’s the case why don’t we say okay I’m going to set it up so I can read an hour, two hours a day, so I can spend time with my kids so I can be my kids soccer coach. I’m doing those things but ironically it stresses me out because I have the stuff at work where I’m feeling oh this is too much, this is too busy. So again it’s thinking about this and realizing how can you actually start making this a reality right now.
Zach Smith: (49:37) We have a topic that we’ll probably talk about in a future episode to kind of help with that feeling of overwhelm, we call it “Holistic Harmonization”. The easiest way to think about is the keys on a piano, if you play them disjointedly you’re not, it’s not going to sound very beautiful, but when all the keys are played in harmony it sounds amazing. So many people in life talk about balance and I hate the word balance it’s kind of counterintuitive I guess you could say but I don’t believe it’s everything’s black- and-white, oh I’m not very balanced here, this isn’t balanced or this isn’t balance miller all that stuff. I actually believe everything needs to be harmonized because when our lives are harmonized just like the five freedoms there is harmony when you have all of them, there is disharmonic chords when either one of them is off so it is with our lives as well and these many vacations, these many tests of things you like and don’t like that helps us to figure out what harmonizes, what sings to our soul more so than anything else that we do, and as we test things out and as we try things and as we realize what we like and what we don’t like, we can find that holistic and overall harmonization that truly encompasses joy which is what I think everybody should be trying to achieve in this life.
Thomas Alvord: (50:44) I’m going to throw a spoiler in all of this. If somebody is an entrepreneur they probably love creating and doing new things and they probably enjoy working because when you do work you love it doesn’t feel like you’re working at all right, but that is so true and so the irony in all of this because it’s the opposite of what you would expect is that if you can get to a place to retire you probably don’t want to retire because you enjoyed doing what you’re already doing which is actually working. Now maybe there’s other stuff you want to do, but you actually love.
Zach Smith: (51:24) I love that.
Thomas Alvord: (51:24) Working, it’s similar to what we were just talking about yesterday Zach, if you donate or give money to the poor in a way you might not be helping them it may be that they need money, but it very well may be that they need a push through and struggle through that and because we were talking in my situation and my in-laws being in a place to be able to help me and my wife but didn’t right so the time we needed the money they didn’t give it to us. However, they have stuff set aside so when they die some of those assets would come to me and my wife but the irony is at the point we don’t need it. So in a way, when you really need the money you shouldn’t get it, and when you eventually get it you don’t need it, in a way retirement for an entrepreneur I think is similar. Once you get to the point of retiring you don’t want to retire because you’re going to love what you’re doing, if you’re an entrepreneur creating value, creating businesses it’s an adventure and it’s fun.
Zach Smith: (52:31) And like we said before, we told that story. It is likely the case that you aren’t too far away from more fully experiencing all of these freedoms isn’t that the truth, Spiritual, Mental Freedom, anybody can seek for an access right now, you could start meditating and praying just five minutes a day. You can start working to get up an addiction right now. You can forgive someone right now. Health Freedom can be years by literally getting up off your butt after listening to this and exercising and eating healthier and getting into a routine. Time Freedom seems to be perhaps one of those most elusive freedoms you get by using the principle of Pareto 8020 you can look at the 20% of your causes that consume 80% of your time, and see how you can change or modify those and do what Thomas has done unsubscribe from constant incessant notifications, make your life simpler, control your time, find ways where you’re the one acting, and not being acted upon and modify your life accordingly. And Financial Freedom may seem impossible to obtain depending on your goals however, just like all Paulo Coelho’s fishermen you might ask ourselves do we actually already have all the Financial Freedom we want and need. Ask yourself what freedoms do you wish you enjoyed more of? Make a plan and just increase a couple of those over the next few days, over the next week, over the next month and watch your life change so quickly, the irony is that you are free to decide whether to try to increase your freedom in any one of these categories we just mentioned or to do nothing. So I guess the question is will you use your Freedom to increase…
Thomas Alvord: (53:59) Wonderful.
Zach Smith: (54:00) …your freedoms even more. Okay, it is now the time for the Funded Today, Products of The Week and I have a pretty cool one. You might not know this about me, but I have dealt with elbow and joint related issues in my arms for years and so this one immediately stood out to me. It is on Kickstarter right now as of the recording there’s only about 16 days left so you may have to catch on Indiegogo InDemand on the website but I would be remiss if I didn’t give this one a shout out, it’s called Mouzen, and its spelled M-O-U-Z-E-N this is the world’s most beautiful ergonomic armrest and I’m not just saying that, this thing is absolutely piece of art. It essentially makes it so you have a pivot point where your mousepad and where your desk would normally meet up together and so when you’re moving around your mouse this Mouzen is pivoting with your arm to reduce fatigue and just wear and tear on your arm it’s amazing to think that little simple mouse scrolls and clicks and pointers can cause so much damage, but believe me, as a serial entrepreneur having done this for the better part of a decade now I can tell you that if you don’t take care of your arms and your joints you will have pain and problems more quickly than you realize. So check this one out I think it’s going to be it’s not only beautiful it’s going to help you with some of the health concerns you have by optimizing the position of your wrist and reducing some of that stress preventing carpal tunnel potentially so check it out Mouzen M-O-U-Z-E-N on Kickstarter right now. Thomas what do you got for us?
Thomas Alvord: (55:35) I have a very interesting product but before I share I want to share a tangent a funny YouTube video I’m not exactly sure what you would have to search for, but right now it is becoming a problem where people love to go and steal packages off of people’s porches, and so there’s this engineer who thought I’m going to create a solution to this. Now this is not the product, but this is a solution to this problem. What he did, he rigged up this little contraption and he put it in a box so it looks like he had gotten a package, but it was actually this little contraption, and inside the box was four cellphones that will turn all the cameras on once it was moved, and the GPS in the phones will show where the phones were so we can track it down, and when the phones were on they were recording so he could see what would happen and he created this contraption that when the people came and grabbed the package and then ran off with it and took it in their car usually they’d open it in the car, once they open the package it would actually cause glit
Projects of the week
References and Resources
- Wikipedia: Multiple discovery
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