Sunday, October 14, 2007

Curious about Freedom: How Much Do You Have? And, How Important Is It to You?

Definitions: Freedom:The state of being free; exemption from the power and control of another; liberty; independence. Privileges; franchises; immunities. Exemption from necessity, in choice and action; as, the freedom of the will. Frankness; openness; unreservedness.

Freedom is a man's natural power of doing what he pleases, so far as he is not prevented by force or law.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman

I wonder how aware we are of our freedom advantages. We are free to jump at a new opportunity, to make the choices that will determine our futures, and to decide what, when and how to take the necessary actions. Really, our biggest problem is that we have so many options, we hardly know where to start. But that is not a viable excuse for not starting!

As I have been mentioning over the last three months, I have started working with a company that focuses on achieving freedom. This includes freedom from debt, freedom from having to stay in a job you don’t love, freedom to become “job-optional,” freedom to retire by the age of 30 or younger, and the freedom to become a “stay-at-home” mom and/or dad.

Yes, it won’t just happen. It does take work and effort, but it is possible. I have already experienced meeting those who are enjoying their freedom. As the American architect Maya Lin stated, “To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.” It is the American Dream in action.

This week’s quotations were wide and many. Here are a few of the positive ones:

  • What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice.” - Archibald MacLeish, American poet

  • Individuality is the aim of political liberty. By leaving the citizen as much freedom of action and of being as comports with order and the rights of others, the institutions render him truly a freeman. He is left to pursue his means of happiness in his own manner.” - James F. Cooper, American novelist

  • Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and soon discovered there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.” - Oprah Winfrey, American entertainer

  • Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do.” - Robin G. Collingwood, English philosopher

  • Freedom is from within.” - Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect

  • I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.” - Amy Tan, American novelist

Here are a few with a different twist:

  • Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” - Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychologist

  • A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” - Albert Camus, French philosopher

  • There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.” - Erich Fromm, American psychologist

  • Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” - Abraham Lincoln, American President

  • It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.” - Mark Twain, American author

  • In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.” - Peter Ustinov, English actor

Here are three more for you to think about:

  • Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can't go hand in hand, I don't want to go.” - Hazel Scott, American musician

  • Freedom - to walk free and own no superior.” - Walt Whitman, American poet

  • A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” - Jim Morrison, American musician

What does freedom mean to you? How free do you feel?