What it really comes down to is freedom.
In the spirit of Independence Day, I thought this was a good topic to discuss.
This is something I have thought a lot about over the past few years.
When most of us think about the word Freedom we think of constitutional freedoms.
While that is vitally important, the concept of freedom goes much deeper.
Let’s look at why freedom should be our ultimate goal in every area of our lives.
Restrictions Come Before True Freedom
The idea that freedom means you have zero restrictions is a false notion.
The truth is that gaining freedom requires many restrictions.
What is important to understand however, is that these restrictions must be placed at a micro level and not macro.
By micro I mean individual, family or close proximity.
Where we go astray is when someone in a distant place (government) tries to restrict a group of people.
Or when someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome or progress of that individual, those restrictions may be dangerous.
The ultimate restriction must and should come from close proximity.
Because, on this micro level we have a better understanding of what the true needs are.
And ultimately, no one knows better than yourself what is needed for personal growth.
For that reason, if you want to progress you have to restrict certain things – with the goal of gaining full freedom in the future.
Let’s look at a few examples of necessary restriction.
Our society is really good at teaching us that we can and should have whatever we want whenever we want it.
This comes in either the form of debt or lack of savings – just to name two.
By its very nature debt is a way for us to have what we desire without restriction.
It has the opposite effect.
Once enslaved with debt, your freedom restricts.
You’ve now lost your say about how you will spend those future dollars.
They are now owed to someone else.
This is the opposite of freedom.
Our jobs can be another example of enslavement when it comes to money – especially when we have debt.
Many people I have talked to dislike their jobs.
They stay in them because they can’t afford to make a change.
Or, many of them stay in jobs they hate because they have such good incomes that they don’t want to walk away it.
Both of these are examples of loss of freedom as it relates to finances.
What is the solution?
We need to put in place restrictions that TEMPORARILY defer freedom so we come out the other side with compete freedom.
We need to restrict our debt and spending so we have more money to save and invest.
This is how you grow your money.
You cannot grow it if you are giving all of it away by spending it.
While this may feel like you have little freedom, what you are really doing is conserving today so you can have ultimate freedom in the future.
Once you have your finances in order, you are then free to do whatever you want.
If you don’t like our job, you will have the means to make a change.
You can travel, invest in hobbies, retire, etc…
When we live our lifestyles with debt, it may feel like freedom at the time, but there is underlying anxiety and stress because we know things are not well below the financial surface.
This simply kicks the financial can down the road to be dealt with at a later time.
And that steals our freedom.
Freedom of Time
This is perhaps the most important and desirable form of freedom.
We just talked about how our finances affect our freedom of time because of our work obligations.
I have found a great deal of my time is lost in inefficiencies.
When I waste time in one area, it affects the time I am able to spend with my family or hobbies.
For this reason, I impose time restrictions on myself so I am able to have more freedom in the future.
I especially try to be very structured in my mornings.
This restriction of what I must get done first, allows me to do what I want the rest of the day.
If I want to exercise, and I don’t get it done in the morning, I now have a conflict because I then have to choose between that and being with my family.
Instead, I restrict other activities or desires that I want to do in the morning to make sure I get those important things done.
I have found that the structure of my day is much better when I do this.
Having those disciplines in place cuts the waste out of my day and that is what gives me more freedom of time.
Another example of loss of freedom comes from personal behavior.
This is where freedom should originate - with ourselves.
If we can develop who we are personally, we open ourselves up to the benefits of freedom in the other areas of life.
As we impose restrictions on these important areas that could derail us, we are setting ourselves up for freedom thereafter.
An example would be addiction.
It may feel restrictive to ban anything from your life that can cause addiction.
But that action of restriction is helping you avoid that lack of freedom that inevitably comes.
Those vices can cause family separations – which hurt your freedom to see loved ones.
They can make it so you lose your ability to choose for yourself as what you want to do takes the back seat to those addictions.
If we commit crime, we may lose driver’s licenses, ability to vote, shoot firearms, or will spend time locked up.
Talk about lack of freedom.
Imposing restrictions that help eliminate anything that will take away our ability to choose for yourselves is not only prudent but absolutely necessary.
Those restrictions are what helps guarantee freedom thereafter.
This is something one encounters often when raising kids.
I have talked with my kids many times about how rules are NOT there to punish or make life less enjoyable, they are there to preserve freedom.
It’s a true principle and one that must be adhered to if we want to maintain freedom over ourselves.
We all have different areas of struggle, but we must get to know our weakness and impose restrictions to conquer those things.
This may be seen as a sign of weakness, but it is the ultimate sign of strength.
When someone has the discipline to impose rules that protect themselves, that is someone who will go somewhere in life.
Constitutional Freedoms are Vital
Have you ever wondered why the US has seen such prosperity compared to the rest of the world?
I believe it is because of Divine Providence and the protections our Constitution guarantees.
Nowhere in the world is a group of people freer to choose their pursuit – regardless of what it is.
This freedom is what opens the innovative ingenuity that is abundant in our country.
That freedom comes with certain restrictions.
As I pursue my path, I am free to choose whatever I want to do so long as I don’t impose on someone else’s freedom to do the same.
This is what laws were enacted to do.
Those restrictions are what gives us ultimate freedom.
As with financial and freedom of time, we give a small restriction up front for full freedom thereafter.
Also, just like the debt that tries to crush our financial freedom, constitutional freedoms also have their opposition.
Just as creditors know you are trapped when you take on too much debt, those who want to take away constitutional freedoms want to enslave us to their rules.
This is why the 10th amendment is so important.
Laws should be enacted on a local level because it is our only way to have full control of the process.
What is most dangerous about laws – well intentioned or not – is that they often erode those freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.
They argue that we have to give a little upfront to have more freedom down the road.
The problem is that is seldom the case.
These problems need to be solved on a local level – just as our money and time management is best handled personally or inside our own homes.
Freedom must be protected on this level just like it has to be on all of the others.
Freedom, regardless of what area of our lives we are talking about, should be our ultimate goal.
It is important to understand freedom comes when we structure our lives correctly.
We have to carefully impose small restrictions in those important areas if we want to see true growth and its resulting freedom.
The key is to make sure these restrictions are going to deliver the desired result.
As we see with government, more rules does not always mean more freedom.
It’s important we understand what TRUE freedom means and use it as a gauge for our decision making.
Thanks for reading,
Founder of 1911 Apparel