Obligation Is The Death Of Responsibility
November 7, 2011
Responsible Capitalism
November 23, 2011

Motivation For Self Employed People

I had an interesting conversation yesterday which I think ties into what I was going into in my last post. It had to do with how to stay motivated when you are self employed.

A lot of people wouldn’t be able to do anything productive without a boss – or so it might seem in the short term. Without the threat of authority, they wouldn’t get out of bed at a decent time, they wouldn’t do productive work, and they basically wouldn’t do anything except watch TV or whatever their favourite distraction is.

I actually think that this is only the first phase of being self employed — or self directed as I prefer to call it. During this time, you’re basically rebelling against the authority you have in your head telling you to do stuff. Seeing as the authority doesn’t have any physical presence, rebellion grows stronger than obedience, and you act out whatever your personal rebellion consists of.

TV watching is one of these things. Or it could be surfing the internet aimlessly. Or doing creative things – so long as they don’t seem productive. Choose your poison.

Eventually, though, you’ve fully asserted your power – or maybe you’ve just gotten bored of whatever you were doing. Or maybe you start to realise that you have another motivation apart from this voice of authority in your head which makes you want to do stuff. This would be the voice of “responsibility” as described in the last article. (See: Responsibility Vs. Obligation) Whatever it is, slacking off stops being interesting for you any more.

You begin a new stage of life – one where you are doing things solely from a place of love.

Conditioned Dependence

I truly believe that slacking off is is a stage you go through and not an inevitable condition of being boss-free. I believe that we as a culture have a case of conditioned dependence on authority, one which begins most of all in school and which continues into the workplace.

School begins this process by forcing children to live in this state of dependence, being unable to decide for themselves what to do with their time or even if they can go to the toilet without asking their nearest authority. Even their “free time” is not free, because everything that happens in it is enshadowed by the authoritarian reality they live in. They are not “free” to do whatever they want to do – such as watching TV – because they have been explicitly told, “OK, now we *allow* you to slack off and watch TV”. In this way even slacking off a covert expression of their slave ownership.

Work smoothly takes over the task of keeping you in a state of conditioned dependence on authority, so many people never get out of it in their entire lives. However, some people get the powerful urge to break free, enough that they do one way or another. I broke free by quitting school. Other people might do it by moving to a democratic school (see: Summerhill School) or by quitting their job and becoming self directed. From there the reclaiming of individual will begins.

Healing From The System

I think it’s natural to feel lazy at first. My process started off with me spending approximately 2 years doing absolutely nothing at all. Of course that’s not quite true, I was breathing and eating; but I was specifically avoiding any activity that could have arised from the voice of authority in my head. I was mostly idly surfing the internet, watching porn, and experimenting with personal development.

I consider those two years to have been extremely productive. On the surface it appears that I was completely and utterly throwing my time away. However, in school I was also throwing my time away with their bullshit rituals designed to inculcate obedience. That was worse than throwing time away. My two alone years, in contrast, were years in which I was allowing myself to recover from the obedience training, and was actively avoiding further reinforcement of it. So it was much better than simply throwing time away.

Conditioned dependence on authority is a result of violence – mostly of the energetic or emotional sort these days, but no less violence because of that – so, like any other wound, the cure is simply to allow and encourage our organism to heal it naturally. That’s what time outside of the System does. So I strongly recommend time outside the system, even idle time, for anyone who feels the need to break their obedience conditioning. I would recommend even homelessness as a last-resort option, though there are usually better self-directed ways of earning a living.

Learning To Walk Again

It’s been about 4 years since I broke free of the System and began to heal my conditioned dependence on authority.

At the beginning I really had no idea what was going on. Scrap that, I had an instinct – the same instinct that told me to get the hell out of the System – which told me there was a better way and that I’d find it. Still, things were confusing and I was at constant war with my inability to do the things I thought I “should” do.

If I had to do it again, I’d want to read this article and totally assure myself that it’s okay to be in a quagmire at the start. It’s only natural; you’re like Neo just woken up from the Matrix; his eyes, ears, muscles and coordination have never been used, and he has to build them up. It’s not going to be a quick process.

You’ve just woken up from the Matrix and you have never used your body. That is: your ability to function without authority — most of all your ability to think for yourself and motivate yourself without an internal or external sense of authority. Your opinions are going to have to be reconstructed; you’re going to have to learn to know without depending on an authority for knowledge or insisting on your own authority. And, you’re going to have to learn to work with love. Your true calling is going to have to be awakened.

All of these are like learning to walk again. It’s not going to be instant.

I’m still going through this process after about 4 years, though these days I’m beginning to feel like I’m more outside of the Matrix than in it. I had a lot of pain to heal, so some people may find it easier than I did. Others may find it much harder. However it is for you, though, I do insist that the journey is worth it and infinitely much better than submitting to more violence.

However long it takes, you do get one instant benefit: a sense of dignity and sovereignty that is worth more than the richest lifestyle as an undignified slave. The rest of the benefits, including learning to achieve goals effectively as a free person, will gradually accumulate over the months and years.

It *will* take a while. It *will* be hard at the start. But it will be *so* worth it.

How To Be Effective When You Are Self Directed (Self Employed)

So how to become effective at achieving goals and being motivated as a self directed (self employed) person?

First, understand what’s going on. Then, understand that healing the situation is a process. Then, help the process along.

Back then in my first days of freedom, when I found I couldn’t motivate myself to do what I thought I “should” do, I was at war with the authority inside me. I was unaware, though, that it was indeed inside me and not out there somewhere. “Should” is authority telling you what to do from its dogmatic position of absolute rightousness. Resistence – laziness – is our natural response to this emotional violence.

The only way to heal pain is to validate it totally, so DON’T fight your urges to be lazy. DO rest assured that the laziness will disappear eventually as something purer and more real replaces it. In the meantime do whatever is necessary to survive while remaining outside of the System, and allow your process to play itself out as you do so.

Now, the purpose of allowing your process to play out is not really to go through the whole quagmire of laziness and self-destructive behaviours. If you can skip those without reinforcing your inner authority figure, then please do. But if you can’t yet, you have to let them play out. As I said the purpose isn’t the behaviours in themselves. The purpose is to really flood them with total acceptance, total validation. Allowing them to play out is only to facilitate this total allowance attitude.

“Validation”, “acceptance”, or “allowance” is giving those feelings and behaviours the right to exist. It’s allowing them a place in your reality and not fighting their place in your reality. It’s letting them stay conscious rather than shoving them into unconsciousness. That’s the only environment where they can heal.

This is the opposite of the System. The System doesn’t allow natural parts of you a place in reality. Anything that is natural must be bent to the System’s will. Because it’s wrong, because it’s criminal, because it’s taboo… because the System just couldn’t work if people realised that being free worked better! That’s is an attitude of total nonallowance. You respond to it, you heal it, with an attitude of total allowance.

Working With Love

Apart from that, meditate on your source of true motivation. You can do life purpose exercises like Steve Pavlina recommends. Or you can journal or investigate in other ways.

Eventually you’ll learn to love what you do, and enjoy doing things that help you achieve goals. You can do things in order to achieve something – in order to pay the bills or in order to achieve a goal – and also totally want to do it, totally enjoy doing it, do it for its own sake. You can pay the bills without a voice telling you “should” pay the bills. You can do away with internal and external violence and just do things.

I mean *just* do things. Not say “I’m going to do this” and then do it. JUST do it. Because you enjoy doing things. Because taking care of your affairs feels good and leaves you with a feeling of lasting wellbeing at the end of the day. Because you directly percieve the benefits of doing it or the problems involved in not doing it; and rather than thinking about them, you move in the right direction like a free animal moves towards food.

No stick, no carrot. You don’t need that. How absurd is a carrot to reward you for finding a carrot? Or a stick to punish you for failing to avoid a stick? Just take the carrot.

Related Posts

Obligation Is The Death Of Responsiblity


Child Exploitation


The Dark Side Of Money

The System

7 Holistic Alternatives To Self Discipline

Anger At The School System

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  1. Eva says:

    Interesting post. I think this applies just as much to the system of religion, another system based on authority that stops people from thinking for themselves. And yes, it is chaos and confusion when you first get out. I was lucky that I was homeschooled as a child, so I had that independence built into me from a young age. I was miserable in every traditional job I had, but I have never figured out how to earn money as a self-employed person. After college, I moved to Ecuador, and I was just telling my husband that if we had stayed in the states, we probably both would have already given up on freelancing and tried to find regular jobs. Here we really have no choice but to make it work. But thanks for the validation that even if we’re not doing it by the book and we spend all our money, it’s worth it.

  2. Vincent d says:

    I love your article, I’ve been self employed for many years and I go though the lazy cycle for a few months every year or two. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has these feelings. Cheers!

  3. Marianne Poulos says:

    99 percent of this resonates! I found this blog while in the midst of my third year pseudo self-employed. Basically, I teach drawing and painting on canvas. It’s frustrating because nobody wants to pay me for what I’m worth, so sometimes I’m sitting here living on 300 dollars a month, when I have a masters degree in education. I’m burned out, though, I know I do prefer the children to adults. I did a three year stint in an arty town in the southwest….half of the time off the grid painting, travelling, having a great time.. which led to a trauma, and then a return to the big city and parents for recovery. I’m 49 years old, attractive, intelligent, warm, unmarried, and I’ve been depressed mostly due to the idleness which I’ve allowed myself… so thank you for that advise. I’m at the point where I just broke my Netflix addiction by not renewing next month, and I’m starting to want to have fun again, but a part of me is determined to not rely on money to prepare for the holocaust coming….the coercive voice says just to go back into the schools and teach and save your money…as if there were jobs here, anyway… My life is incredibly extreme..but something went wrong…I just sort had to crash and burn somewhere so I chose my parents house, and have been here three years now! I could use some counseling from time to time if you would be willing to help me out with my irresponsible low income issue…this bugs me the most….but I could use someone like you to help me pull it together. How could we do this financially and long distance?

  4. Roz says:

    This is, by far, one of the best articles I have ever read in my life. I’ve been Self Directed since April and initially I was excited and did well getting to work and getting on with things. But lately its been very hard to motivate myself. I often feel like I’m still recovering from the rediculous number of years I was constrained by the education system, always dying to just have time to do my own thing. Then I ended up in a job working 65 hours a week without days off for months and certainly no support during my incredibly demanding job (my boss just went on holiday all the time and left me to do everything). So I often feel like I do just need time to do “nothing” to recover from all of it. Hopefully I can find a way to love what I do the way I used to, but for now I feel like for the first time it’s okay just to take time for myself.

  5. Amy says:

    This has to be the best article I have read on this topic to date! Truly. I left the rat race and my steady 40 hour lab job last May to start my own photography business. When I was still at the soul sucking job I had tons of motivation to work on my business and get it going. I could not wait to jump in. Now, almost a year later, I find myself unmotivated. Do not get me wrong, I am happy I decided to do this, I am a better person for it. But I expected to be all kinds of motivated and have very productive days. (I have always worked for “the man” and have always been a hard worker). Over the last year I have been beating myself up and wondering what is wrong with me. This article answered that. For that I truly thank you.

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