There are two types of freedom we all enjoy: collective freedoms and personal freedoms.
Without collective freedoms, there are no personal freedoms.
Most of the world has collective freedoms such as the freedom of speech, religion, press, democracy, and so forth. Make no mistake, these freedoms are not free and come at a heavy price of blood and tears (just ask the people of Ukraine).
These collective freedoms also open the door for us to pursue personal freedoms. These are not guaranteed and provided – a person must earn, strive for, and create these freedoms for themselves.
Below you’ll find 4 personal freedoms that you can pursue to become your best, compliments of our collective freedoms that many celebrate during July.
Freedom #1: Freedom of ChoiceDid you ever have a childhood teacher ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you remember the plethora of answers that came from your classmates? Firefighter, astronaut, business person, artist, musician, athlete, teacher, banker, inventor, and so many more.
Exercise and use your freedom of choice to your advantage. Do not squander it, because it is easily squandered. Do not lose it to bad habits, idleness, or ignorance.
Magnify your freedom to choose with discipline – choose to do the right thing, at the right time, regardless of how you feel. Your capacity and freedom to choose will grow with discipline.
Develop a personal vision, set roles and goals, and pre-week plan to Do What Matters Most, and you’ll use your freedom of choice to become your best.
Freedom #2: Financial FreedomFinancial freedom is having enough money to cover living expenses. It is freedom from debt. It’s having money set aside for emergencies and rainy days. It’s having money for life goals. It is ultimately the freedom to retire without dependence on others or the government. Financial freedom is a personal freedom and must be pursued, strived for, and earned. You pursue financial freedom through discipline (doing the right thing, at the right time, regardless of how you feel) and through your choices.
Choose to read books such as “The Richest Man in Babylon,” “The Millionaire Next Door,” “The Total Money Makeover,” and other books on financial literacy and well-being. Follow the advice of these and other experts. If appropriate for you, consult with a financial adviser or financial planner.
Choose to eliminate debt and live debt-free. Choose to develop a debt schedule to pay off debt and never get in debt again if you currently have debt.
Choose to contribute to your 401k, choose to set up an IRA, and choose to max out your contributions each year. Choose to patiently invest for the long haul (like Warren Buffet) and avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
Choose to develop your skills and be among the best in your industry (the top performers). The top performer will be the top earners. Choose to surround yourself with the best in your industry and learn from them.
Choose financial freedom. It’s a freedom available to all and with it you can become your best.
Freedom #3: Freedom from Ignorance
Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1450. Over the decades and centuries that followed, it was a primary catalyst for the renaissance, reformation, and scientific revolution. Suddenly ideas, innovations, philosophies, theories, poems, alphabets, and science could be easily shared, learned, and taught to all! Many tried to suppress it, but it could not be suppressed. It toppled governments, religions, societal hierarchy, and oppression in its many forms. It liberated much of the world.
You are free to choose ignorance or choose freedom from ignorance. Choose to read. Choose to pursue ongoing education. Choose to keep an open mind. Choose to listen to others, particularly those you don’t agree with. Choose to read nonfiction and fiction alike. Choose to be free.
The pursuit of knowledge is one of the bedrock freedoms exercised by those who become their best. Pursue knowledge, pursue your freedom from ignorance, and you too are on your path to becoming your best.
Freedom #4: Freedom to Live Healthily
Because we are free to choose, and because we can be free from ignorance, we are also free to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Consider the knowledge we have available to us today about anatomy, physiology, nutrition, disease, and mental and emotional health! We should be the healthiest generation ever!
We can choose to eat healthily, choose to move and exercise, choose to sleep 7-9 hours per night, choose healthy habits, choose to cut out toxins (like sugar and soda), choose to have regular checkups, and choose work-life balance (work-life balance comes with pre-week planning).
We can learn from medical professionals, books, online courses, coaches, DNA tests, regular diagnostic checkups, and through modern tools (such as heart monitors) how to improve our health, our bodies, our minds, and our overall well-being at an individual level.
Like other personal freedoms, this requires discipline – doing the right thing, at the right time, regardless of how we feel. It also requires effective time management, goal setting, and leading with a vision.
There it is – there are four personal freedoms that are yours to pursue and achieve.
Be free to choose.
Be financially free.
Be free of ignorance.
Be free to live a healthy and long life.
Pursue those freedoms passionately. If helpful, study and apply the 12 principles of highly successful leaders to your life using a planner, a book, and the accompanying resources. Each of these 4 freedoms directly correlate to one or more of the 12 principles. They unlock these freedoms for you.
And, Do What Matters Most to manage your time in a way that allows these freedoms to blossom and bear rich fruit in your life. Make time for these freedoms, and they’ll enhance the value of your time.
That is you becoming your best.
“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.” – Herbert Hoover
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