Today We Celebrate our Freedom. Do You Really Feel Free?

For those of us here in America, today is our Independence Day – the day we celebrate our freedom.

I’m thankful for the people out there who continue to fight to protect that freedom that we enjoy, and often take for granted, every single day.

With that being said, one of the things that I’ve realized over the last few years in talking to so many readers – is that many of us don’t feel nearly as free as we would like.

We’re extremely fortunate to have our basic American liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion etc – but many seem to feel trapped by the very lives they have created for themselves.

Why is this?

The simple answer I believe, is uncertainty.

I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but it’s worth bringing up again.

Most people don’t experience the freedom they truly want and deserve in their lives because they’re afraid of the uncertainty surrounding making a change.

Can you relate to this at all?

Uncertainties like:

  • How will I pay my bills if I switch to a career that makes me happier?
  • I’ve worked my whole live to afford this house and mortgage, there’s no way I could sell or downsize now
  • What will my friends and family think if I pursue something that is a little more unconventional?

While yes, here in America we’re the land of the free, but our society also sets us up to follow the traditional path, which can make it feel as though you don’t have as much control over our lives and choices.

While many people simply look at the 4th of July as a three day weekend, as opposed to what it really stands for, I think it is actually an opportunity for many to have a taste of true freedom.

Today in Portland, it’s beautiful out. Thousands of people will go to bbqs, go camping, hiking, go listen to music at Blues Fest, golf – it’s a day where the weather is good, many have the day off, and they can go do all the things they wish they could do more often.

It truly is a day to celebrate freedom, both on a governmental level and a personal one.

My point for all of this, is today, think about your freedom and what it means to you. Answer the question, “do I truly feel free?”

If not, think about why.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t consciously think about how fortunate I am to live this type of lifestyle. Sure, I’ve worked really hard to get here, but I can definitively say, it’s been worth it every step of the way.

If there is one thing you could do this week, to get yourself one step closer to the freedom you really crave in life, what would it be?

Image Credit: Jeepers Media

Carl Bolland July 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Great post Sean!

As someone who is both young and a wantrepreneur (I’m working on it!), I find myself asking my friends and family this all the time.

They’ll come home tired and bored of their job and I’ll ask why they don’t consider a change, to which I receive;

“I have to pay for the house and the kids,” or “I have too much debt and this pays well”

I think, actually I know that this is why people have mid life crisis’ – They suddenly realise that “Shit, I’m not happy with my life and I’m half way through it. I need to take action.”

Obviously this is where a lot of the trouble comes into play. I think teaching people to live to make themselves happy (provided it’s not at other people’s expense) is the way to go. This old system of a life template no longer works for this new economy and new world.

Have a great 4th of July!

Looking forward to your next post!

Carl :)

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Ana August 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Carl, you hit the nail when you included “provided it’s not at other people’s expense.” When you go off before you’re financially ready — which can take literally a lifetime if you don’t already have a lot of money — you usually end up either homeless or imposing on friends and family. I know this from experience. When I go off, it will be with a good, secure income I take with me because I have absolutely no one to count on if they going should get rough. They already helped me in the past, and let me know it. :-)

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James Johnson (@JamesJohnson_PL) July 6, 2014 at 3:15 am

Sean,

Excellent post! It’s pretty interesting to read this as an Englishman. We don’t have ‘American Dream’ or use freedom as a regular part of our national identity.

But, I’d wholeheartedly agree. Whenever I travel, or set up a business people look at me like, ‘Wow, that’s insane, I wish I could do that’.

When, in actuality – they can.

You can only really be free, when you allow yourself to be.

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Kimanzi July 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Well said Sean! For 12 years I had no clue what true freedom was or any desire to make freedom a part of my life. There’s no point in crying over what’s done but I do regret that wasted time.

It took the death of my father to wake me up but I’m glad I’m up. There’s nothing like living life on your own terms. The freedom to wake up and spend your time doing what’s important to you!

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Chas July 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Yes, I most certainly can relate to this. Most of the fortress walls I have surrounded myself with, were created by my own actions, although, I may have believed at the time that they were paving a path to freedom and independence. “So often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key.” ~The Eagles, “Already Gone”.

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Ana July 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Not sure I agree with all of that last quote. We don’t always have the key to get out of the prison society puts us in. No matter what your decision, at the very least, you have to pay the rent. If there’s not enough to do that, you’re out on the street as many are these days. Most people on the streets are there simply because they lost jobs or have jobs or businesses that don’t pay enough for housing. Period. What you do, in whatever manner, no matter how happy it otherwise makes you, has to put a roof over your head.

That’s what I’m dealing with now. I have a good job — well, as good as can be expected these days at my age — but it’s temporary so I’m walking on eggshells not knowing how long it will last. And there is nothing else out there. So I really have to make my business self-supporting asap. Or else.

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Mike Goncalves July 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

As always, great post!
Because of the brave men and women who have fought and continue to fight to protect our freedoms, I have the option to pursue, create, or invent any life that I so chose. That’s incredible and as you said Sean, often taken for granted. Brave men and women have given their lives so that we may advance our own. It’s only right then that we pay our respects by pursuing all it is we want for ourselves so that we may better our own lives, the lives of those closest to us, and the lives of all those we are fortunate to connect with. We all have the ability to live the type of life we want so long as we commit to the work, the process, and making it happen. Nothing worth having comes easy but it’s available to anyone who’s willing to put in the time, sweat, and tears as you’ve done. Cheers!

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Scott Asai July 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Good point. I think the main reason why people start their own business is to feel they have more control of their future. It’s probably the harder path, but the path more traveled as each day passes. We’re fortunate to have this choice and can’t take it for granted. All the time complaining about what you don’t have can be spent focusing on what you do.

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Adrian Landsberg July 8, 2014 at 3:48 am

The one thing I would do this week would be to figure out what the hell I’m going to do for a business idea!

I’ve been racking my brain for years. Apart from working harder on my blog and increasing the traffic I will keep plugging away at real estate and start building a business as soon as a viable idea comes up :)

Adrian

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Michael Nitschke July 8, 2014 at 8:14 am

You are not truly free, your living in a false state of safety and imaginary freedom.
You ignore a lot of limitations by turning them into necessary evils, you have to bear up.
Most of them are well within your reach to change and the discomfort these necessary steps will put you, are nothing compared to the real freedom you feel when you get rid of them.

Be brave make the step, take the plunge.
And get rolling.

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Ana July 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Alas, on July 6 I wrote that we’re not nearly as free as we think we are, that while I agree with the article there, we don’t always have the power to make a change. It depends on our skills, knowledge, background and resources as well as our willingness to work. Alas, I also said I had a good job — for the moment. That job has gone away. It was temporary all along. Oh do I wish I had worked harder on building my business last fall when I had the chance. Oh, I worked but I guess not hard enough.

I also have to move in 5 weeks so I guess I’ll be homeless. No one will rent to someone unemployed. And finding another job … well, I’m at an advanced age and no matter what your age, there really are not a lot of jobs out there. So now I MUST build a successful business. It’s all the opportunity left to me. Someone else on here asked why we start businesses. I think I have as good a reason as anyone on here. :-)

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Dave July 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

I’ve been embracing the uncertainty of freedom for a little while. I’d much rather call all the shots in my life instead of just some of them. Now I’m in control and the traditional path in life just won’t cut it!

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Sebastian Aiden Daniels August 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

We are never free. We have various levels of freedom such as democracy and the right to vote and such, but when it comes down to it we are all chained to having to eat and drink water. Even if you are an independent business owner you have to rely on external reactions to be successful.

I think accepting the fact that we are always attached to something allows us to not be controlled by it and only then can we start to be “free.”

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