Good day team,
Over the years, I have recommended a wonderful book to many of my clients called “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz. Sr. Ruiz describes four agreements you can make with yourself to improve your life and your relationship to it. For those of you who have not read this book, I highly recommend it. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the third agreement, ‘don’t make assumptions’.
One of the assumptions we often make is that the political and social freedoms we enjoy in the United States are guaranteed. I notice that this assumption comes from being born in a free country. Because ‘it’s always been this way’, we just assume it will continue. But, you don’t have to travel very far in this world to find yourself in a place where you cannot do as you please. The simple exercise of going out for a daily newspaper may land you in jail for an undetermined period of time, with no liberation in sight.
Connected to our assumption of living in a free country is the notion that we also have free will, i.e. the ability to think and feel as we wish and act in a manner that best reflects our conscious attitudes. However, I often work with people who relinquish their personal freedom to the will and power of others. They exhibit a lack of empowerment and a sense of enslavement. I’m not talking about the simple resentment that results from doing what someone else reasonably asks us to do when we don’t want to (we’ve all had that experience). I’m referring to the effects of the bullying behavior that wears people down to the point where they disengage emotionally and intellectually. By submitting to bullying, they relinquish their freedom. They just go through the motions without any commitment and, as the days wear on, feel more and more disheartened and disempowered. Max Stirner wrote, “Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man’s lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one’s self. ”
Ironically, I know people who live in countries where many of the basic freedoms we have in the US don’t exist, and yet, in many ways they have more personal freedom than some of my friends here at home – simply because the work they do and the personal lives they lead reflect their love of life.
This week, your challenge is to celebrate your freedom in whatever way seems appropriate for you. Perhaps you will remind your co-workers about the importance of taking ownership for something and seeing how lucky you are to work in an environment where that activity is supported. Maybe you will remind your children about the value of freedom and the appreciation you have for living in a free country. Try thinking about all the freedoms you take for granted. Beware of indolence, carelessness or cowardice in regards to your inherent freedoms as a human being.
Our founding fathers had to fight for our ability to live in a free country, so celebrating their victories and acknowledging their sacrifices is a way of honoring their efforts. As Thomas Paine wrote, “Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must undertake to support it.”
Have a great week!
Note: The coach will be traveling on business and then taking a week’s vacation this month. The next coach’s challenge will be sent out the
week of July 30, 2007.
(c) Copyright 2007 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.