Duchess Digest: Are You Free?

happyhappyI recently finished a self-help book by Robin Sharma which discussed, through a fable, many principles for living your life’s purpose. Many of Mr. Sharma’s tips and tools I had heard before. In fact I’d already read this particular book several times over the past ten years. However, I believe that what we put in our head is what fuels us; so I always try to stock my brain with a simple steady diet of motivation and self-improvement.

Mr. Sharma proposes through one of his fable’s character that each one of us have liberty, but not each one of us is free. The differentiation between personal liberty and personal freedom had never crossed my mind before, however his proposition got me thinking.

That proposition being that each of us has personal liberty to do whatever we want, but only some of us exercise self-discipline and willpower to develop lives that are truly free. In other words, we are all at liberty to eat junk food, watch TV, work too much, allow our personal relationships to fail, or to blame others for the non-fulfillment of our dreams. That is our liberty; to do what we want. But those of us who are truly free are the ones that exercise discipline, willpower and use goal setting to manage our time, choose health over lethargy, who schedule personal time to develop the self and allow personal time in our day or to give up the small pleasures of today to save away for the big dream of our long term purpose.

I have to admit I am fascinated by this idea. Are we using our liberty for freedom? We can choose junk food, TV and laziness but then we are not free to move about in good health, with flexibility, energy and long life. For example, obesity is one of the biggest health problems in our country. It’s long been a stereotype and generalization throughout other parts of the world that American’s are fat. How many people choose their liberty to continue on the path of least resistance over exercising their willpower to free themselves from the health problems and long-term effects of obesity? Obviously this is a personal choice but there is much more freedom in choosing the long term goal of healthy living which requires daily willpower to enforce over the easier “short run” choices of eating fast food or neglecting fitness. This concept holds true of impulse

purchases over investments, exercise over atrophy, organization over mess, balance over workaholic lifestyle, and pretty much every scenario I could imagine. The little decisions that require discipline and short term sacrifice add up to long term payoffs that are more freeing.

I walked away with a new perspective on caring for myself in a way that exercised better long term judgment and balance. I have long been trying to institute the “Poor Richard” discipline of Benjamin Franklin’s admonishment to lead a more purposeful existence. Reading Mr. Sharma’s fable only reinforced this resolve to improve every day in any way. I guess that awful 80’s song was right, freedom isn’t free. It take willpower, discipline and constant application of good judgment over the quick fix. What do you think? Is it really liberty and not necessarily freedom we are choosing? If so, how free are you?

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com


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