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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

Optimising Your Life For Max Freedom & Adventure: 4 Essential Ground Rules

My clients seek two things above everything else: adventure, and freedom. These are the four rules I teach them to shortcut the time it takes them to reach it.


I learned these the (very) hard way. My clients pay top-dollar for my help implementing them. In this blog, I’m going to give you them for free.


I started my first business because I wanted ultimate freedom. It ended up trapping me because I failed to follow these rules.


I don’t want that to happen to you.


These rules aren’t obvious, but they’re sure as fuck useful. And they’re battle tested in hundreds of lives.


Rule 1: Optimise for Choice


Belfast surprised me.


I was walking with Martin Irvine, a photographer, through what felt like the backcountry… gorse bushes, heather, and an exposed ridgeline.


As the weather turned wet, and Martin snapped away hundreds of awesome images, we spoke about what freedom meant.


We spoke about how that differs for everyone, but how there’s underlying themes - principles if you will - that people need to put into words.


What we settled on is that freedom means choices.


Choices to spend your time how you want.


Choices to act in ways that aren’t controlled by self-imposed limitations.


Choices to do what you want, when you want.


Choices to be better tomorrow than you were today.


Many people spend their life pursuing goals they either consciously did not choose, or ones that are watered down visions of success.


The way around that is to optimise for choice.


Rule 2: Define your Freedom


Most people never feel truly free because they’re only optimising for 1 type of freedom: monetary.


So they end up trapped in a job they don’t like; bound by golden handcuffs. Decades pass whilst they tell themselves “when I earn $X per year, then I’ll be truly free.”


The goal posts move though as you gather more and more commitments.


I don’t know about you, but lying on my deathbed and realising I never did take the trip is my idea of hell.


But monetary freedom is important. It’s going to cost me considerably when I go ski mountaineering in South Asia next year, for example.


So we need to get more clear on our definition of freedom, and know there are three parts to it:


Financial: how much money you earn

Time: how much say you have over your calendar

Geographical: do you have to be in a certain place?


Get crystal clear on those, and all your path to freedom becomes so much clearer.


Rule 3: Structure = Freedom


Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL and someone I massively respect, is slightly wrong in this.


He coined the phrase discipline = freedom. And he’s certainly correct. However, the ultimate form of discipline is systemisation.


James Clear is more accurate when he adopted Archilocus’ observation that we don’t rise to the level of our hopes, but fall to the level of our training.


Clear points out that we fall to the level of our systems.


One key task I perform with my clients is to systematise everything.


When we do this we’re trying to isolate the key inputs that create the freedom they seek.


How many times do you want to train in the gym per week?


What does your date night schedule look like?


What do you need to do every week to remove yourself from the business?


Once you’ve done that, you can track your progress toward your goals and adjust if you need to.

Systems create the freedom you really seek.


Rule 4: Book The Damn Trip


The Royal Marines taught me the value of setting hard deadlines.


You aren’t allowed to stop improving because there’s always another deadline looming that forces you to commit.


Your next range test is in 2 weeks. A big exercise is scheduled for 3 weeks after that. Your Commando tests are on the horizon.


There’s always a deadline, and that makes you commit yourself.


If you fail to book the trip you dream of, it gets pushed back indefinitely.


But, if you book the trip, and it’s in the diary, and you have paid your deposit, you make it happen.


You are forced to act aggressively by using something called ‘positive constraints.’


Book the damn trip, and make it happen.


Commit to Freedom & Adventure


Most people never achieve their dreams of freedom and adventure because they half-arse it.


Here’s an invitation to you.


Commit to your next level.


Commit to the trip.


Commit to the life you actually want.



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