It’s Independence Day!

Freedom–The Most Powerful Human Idea?

Broken Chain Link Here in the United States we are celebrating Independence Day.  With that celebration, we hear words like “liberty” and “freedom” bantered around.  But what do they truly mean for you and me?

Obviously, within the context of politics and national identity, these concepts have radically different meanings for each person.  I don’t really want to get distracted by those ideas and concepts because I believe that one of the–perhaps the most important idea of human development lies cradled within the hands of liberty.

What do I mean?

Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning and survivor of Nazi death camps asserted that the “last human freedom” was the ability to choose one’s response. This principle is the foundation of modern human development and self-help (in my opinion).

A person’s ability to choose her attitude and to respond to life is the primary power of the human experience. (Tweet It)

Every human has four endowments- self awareness,
conscience, independent will and creative imagination. 
These give us the ultimate human freedom… 
The power to choose, to respond, to change. (Tweet It)
-Stephen Covey

Responsibility–Personal Freedom In Action

This concept is so simple, yet so profoundly life-changing.  If you will embrace the idea of personal response-ability, you will recognize that you have the fundamental building blocks to the life you desire.

This principle will guide you, give you greater clarity and help you uncover the meaning you desire to bring to your experience in this physical world.

You know that this blog is not so much about self-help or personal development as it is about practical application and awakening.  So here’s a quick tip that’s worked for me on how to put this idea into action.

TIP:  When I recognize anxiety or frustration popping up, I step back and recite this phrase: I can choose.

This does two things.

  • Brings Awareness – It reminds you that you have the power to choose–your attitude and your actions.
  • Increases Motivation – Once you recognize the truth, the shift from feeling debilitated and disempowered has already occurred internally.

A shift always happens internally before it happens externally.  So you can trust that if you have made a decision or a different choice on the inside, then the outward will soon reflect that decision.  The key is to continue to nurture that decision with trust and faith that the outward results are inevitable.

Confidence will begin to grow within you and your new and better thoughts will cause yo to automatically take different actions which will result in new and better circumstances.  At it’s root, this is simple cause and effect.

Here’s another bonus tip activity to try.  Play this game with yourself.

BONUS TIP: Make a game of looking for as many frustrating circumstances as you can find in your life, and then remind yourself that you have the power to choose.

Stuck in traffic? Smile, and think, I can choose.

Late for an appointment? Take a deep breath and remember, I can choose.

Disappointed by a loved one. Dial back the drama. Go to a place of love (maybe a sweet memory) and say, I can choose.

Once you make it a game, it will become an automated, habitual response to frustration and disappointment.  Just that one simple shift has the potential to change the way you respond to every less-than-perfect situation that shows up in your life.

You’ll soon recognize that you feel more empowered because you are honoring and building up your true power (of choice). You now make decisions by conscious response instead of by reaction to every little bit of drama that pops up in your life.

A Realization of Personal Freedom

Man JumpingThe coolest moment for me was when I realized I didn’t have to react to my circumstances.  You don’t even have to respond to everything that happens in your life (at least not right away).  This realization empowers you at a fundamental level.

In his poem to a young man entitled If, Rudyard Kipling says, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…you’ll be a man, my son.”

(Shout-out to my awesome English-teacher mom who insisted on the value of memorized poetry and literature in the life of her teenage son.  Like a steel trap sprung 20 years ago, that quote–and better, it’s message–is embedded my mind.)

This truly is your day of liberty.  Remember…You always have the power to choose.

PODCAST NOTE: Be sure to jump over and listen to this week’s podcast episode, Personal Freedom-The Space Between Stimulus and Response, for some great additional tips and ideas which will encourage you.

Photo Credits: darwin Bell

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Caroll BritsHonee Atkins

    Great article! Yep we don’t have to react to our circumstances. I love that!

    • Thanks so much Carroll. This is such a powerful idea when it is applied. It Haas given me such power in my life. Glad it resonated with u.