In the last article we discussed the mental model known as the Freedom V and how living inside of boundaries imposed upon us actually helps us live more freely because we don’t have to worry about whether or not we’re crossing the line and can use our efforts to get There instead of to avoid consequences. 

An image that shows the To summarize, the Freedom V is a mental model used to help us visualize how to live well inside of external boundaries and use self governance to create our own internal boundaries. The hard external lines of the V represent the external boundaries placed on us by society, laws of nature, or our organizations. At the bottom of the V, you do not have as many choices as the sides of the V are closer together. As you mature and prove yourself capable of living inside the lines, you will be moved up the Freedom V and given more choices. 

So the lines of the V represent boundaries and in between those lines is where we live well. But if you cross the boundary line, there are consequences. 


When you are young, consequences are dictated by your parents. Disobedience results in a loss of privileges. As we get older, our consequences can get less direct, but they can also get more severe. 

For example, there won’t be an immediate consequence to me deciding to splurge on a fun experience even though I don’t really have the money for it. But crossing that boundary of fiscal responsibility could lead to the consequence of not having the money to pay for something I actually need in the future. 

Or let’s say I have a hard time staying motivated at work. There’s likely not going to be an immediate consequence for a singular unproductive day, but if that turns into a habit I could end up losing my job. 

Part of moving up the Freedom V requires having the discernment to know if a one-time action is going to lead to a consequence down the line. You have to be able to see the cause and effect of your actions 

Moving Down the Freedom V 

A consequence can also be moving down the Freedom V. If you have not proved yourself to be able to handle the responsibility of having more choices, the leader in your organization can move you down the Freedom V. 

Whether this is a boss at work or a parent at home, we want to make sure that we are placing people where they can thrive. It is not beneficial to a small child to be given free rein to do whatever they please. They need to learn self-control and discipline before they can be trusted with more responsibility. 

Being moved down the Freedom V is a consequence for overstepping the boundaries, but it is not a punishment. It would be more of a punishment to force someone to take on more than they can handle than it is to guide them in a way that is appropriate for their maturity level. 

But just because you have been moved down the Freedom V does not mean that you will never begin to climb your way up again. Good leaders will give greater freedom to those who have proved they can handle it. A loss of freedom should be a wake up call for you to pursue greater discipline and grow your capacity for self governance. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Management Coordinator for The Crossroad.