Your Goal Should Be Freedom, Not To Be Rich

The biggest lie about money is that people should aim to be rich, but if you dig a little deeper, that’s not what people really want. What they really want is freedom. Physicians aren’t unsatisfied because they don’t make enough money. They’re unsatisfied because they don’t have enough time.

Most physicians have money and status, but why are so many so unhappy? It’s because they have no freedom. They spend too much time at the clinic or hospital, and even when they’re home, they’re always on-call for their patients. Their time is not their own, and it’s not only them who suffer. Their families and loved ones suffer too as they experience their absence.

When we were in medical school, many of us looked forward to the money and prestige a career in medicine would bring. Fast forward to five, ten, or 15 years later, and that coveted medical career is not all that it’s cracked up to be. That’s because what we really wanted wasn’t to be rich, but to be free—free of constraints, free of fear, free of oversight. 

“You’re a prisoner to anything you can’t say no to.” -Ayodeji Awosika (source:

Are you free? Not sure? Ask yourself the following:  Can you say no?  

  • Does your career or job depend on you saying yes to keep your job or your status?


If you can’t say no to a superior, take off at a moment’s notice, or ultimately walk away from your job at any moment, you are not free. 

I got tired of always having to say yes and nod my head in approval for fear of losing my career. There’s nothing wrong with being kind and professional, but I found myself too eager to say yes to everything and to be a people-pleaser. I was always worried about saying the wrong thing for fear of repercussions. I realized that this was no way to live. I had money and prestige, yet I wasn’t happy.

Being free is about being rich and buying things to keep up appearances. When you’re spending money and buying things to keep up appearances, you’re being someone you’re not. You’re being someone society thinks you should be. You’re a physician? You should be living in a mansion with three German cars in the garage. Your kids should be going to private schools, and you should be vacationing in Europe and the Bahamas, and the list goes on and on. That’s not freedom. Freedom is about being yourself.

Freedom is having the option to say no to unreasonable requests of your time or dignity, no to superiors, and no to opportunities. Ironically, it’s having enough money so that money doesn’t run your life. But it has to be the right type of money in order to gain your freedom.

To gain your freedom, there’s a right kind and a wrong kind of income.

If you’re focused on being rich, you will overlook this crucial difference. That’s why so many professionals get on a career track and are stuck there until retirement or death. The right type of income is the kind where your money works for you and not the other way around.

When you work for money, i.e., trade time for money, your income is limited to the hours in the day and to your ability to work. If you get sick or injured and lose the ability to show up at the clinic or hospital, your income is in jeopardy.

The type of income that will help you gain freedom is passive income. Passive income is income generated from investments where you hand over the keys to something or someone else. It’s investing in an asset or in a company that generates cash flow in your sleep. It’s putting your money to work for you, not the other way around. You make money whether you have the ability to work or not. And once you make enough passive income that equals or surpasses the income from your job, you finally have the ability to say “no.” That’s because you no longer have to live in fear of losing your job.

From a young age, society teaches us to chase the wrong things—shiny objects that end up leaving us empty.

These are the shiny objects we end up spending years of schooling to pursue (source: 

  • Job titles.

  • Awards.

  • Bonuses.

  • Big salaries.

  • Praise.

  • Fame.

What physicians ultimately find out as they pursue these objects that society has instilled in them is that these accomplishments all lead to emptiness if there’s no time to enjoy life.

When you chase money and accomplishments instead of freedom, you’re playing the game according to someone else’s rules. When you chase freedom and catch it, you make your own rules, which is ultimately more satisfying than a big house.

Freedom should be your #1 goal if you want to experience true wealth and happiness. Otherwise, you’ll continue chasing money and accomplishments, continue trading time for money, and continue being a “yes” man or woman.

This is what true freedom looks like: 

  • You have enough money to pay bills without fear of losing your job. 

  • The confidence or ability to walk away from your job. 

  • Spending more time with your family instead of your “work family.” 

  • Compounding wealth through cash-flowing assets like real estate or investments in private companies. The closer your income from your cash-flowing assets comes to exceeding your work income, the closer to freedom you’ll be. 

  • The ability to buy everything without feeling like you need anything. Real wealth is when you know you can buy luxuries but decide not to. The discipline to reject society’s pull is true freedom.

Society and institutions want you to believe that to be happy, you need to be rich. Otherwise, who’s going to do all the work and climb up the ladder? They need “yes” men and women to keep the machine humming.

Reject the machine if you want to be happy! Seek freedom!