The USA is celebrating Independence Day this weekend. Given everything that has been going on in our country, some view this celebration as hypocritical.
We can all agree that the USA has its shortcomings. Yet, even with all its shortcomings, this country is still the least racist, the most equal, and the most generous in the world. (Per research done by Orlando Patterson at Harvard). This is still the land with the most opportunity for individuals to improve their lot in life.
What a privilege to live here! There is much to celebrate. There is nobleness to defend.
Having come to this country as a political refugee, freedom is very important to me. It is one of the reasons why I focus on self leadership.
My goal is to help people become the leaders of their lives.
That means they are able to influence and lead themselves.
It means they are able to improve their quality of life.
They are able to take advantages of the opportunities available.
It means they live in freedom.
Here are some tips for living and leading lives of freedom:
1. Become more stoic. Develop the capacity to feel, understand, and process emotions without allowing them to master you. Learn to handle stress (including self-care techniques). Do not allow yourself to be easily manipulated. Be free in your thinking.
2. Improve your skills. What skills are in demand and useful? Which will help you make money, be more independent, communicate better and influence/lead? Learn those! Be free in your living.
3. Believe in yourself. Identify the thought patterns that are holding you back. Identify the lies that you have bought into. Free your mind from the lies that ensnare. Let the skills you learn help build up your belief and trust in your abilities. Demonstrate this belief through self-discipline and action.
4. Get a handle on your finances. As HL Mencken said, "The only freedom that is worth a damn is economic freedom". Many people in the USA live in debt or live paycheck to paycheck. Make it your priority to get out of debt, to gather savings, and live financially free. You might need to lean on your family and community to help you out (see step 5). You will likely need to cut spending or change your lifestyle for a while (see my comment at the end about comparison). You will need to find ways to increase your ability to earn (see step 2). It will take time, but it is possible (see step 3).
5. Create an in-person community. Get to know your neighbors. Create deep connections with family and friends. This community will help you weather the storms of life. While we long for freedom, remember, we are created in the image of God. A need for community comes with our default programming. Our lives are a blended tapestry of freedom and interdependence.
Lastly, free yourself from the deadly trap of constantly comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the killer of joy. Comparison will have you believing lies. Comparison will keep you unfulfilled, ungrateful, unable to enjoy life, and paralyzed in the same rat race.
Let us start viewing ourselves as free men. Let us start living as free individuals. Let us help others live lives of freedom.
It's Independence Day!
Tools to start your Self Leadership Journey: