“Freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty to do as you ought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every year on the 4th of July this quote pops up in my social media memories because I have used this graphic or one like basically every year to say something productive about what freedom is, or at least what I believe it to be.
This year it has really struck me in a powerful way. The idea that freedom is more than just the liberty to do as we ought, but the OBLIGATION to do all we can to be the greatest possible version of ourselves. Why?
Because there are people around us that need us to be at our best when we least expect it. Because there are things that lay in our souls only we know about that, if brought to fruition, might alter the world as we know it.
It is said that the graveyard is the richest place on earth. It’s where all the amazing ideas reside because the person that had them was too afraid to take action on trying to make them a reality. Or perhaps they were too busy chasing some false version of happiness that ultimately lead to comfort rather than fulfillment and true happiness.
A comfortable life is most often at odds with greatness and fulfillment. Fulfillment comes through reaching our fullest potential and becoming the best version of ourselves. That version is had, not by the easiest path, but often one that is difficult. One fraught with struggle, frustration, and discomfort. It is on that path that we become our strongest self. One the requires vulnerability, grit, and empathy. One that will take us to the things life requires of us to add to the world that which only we can.
It is on this path, through these trials and discoveries, that we find real happiness. Happiness that is fulfillment, the feelings of contribution and value, and satisfaction that we have done all we can for those whom we care for most.
As we head into the weekend after the celebration of American Independence, consider how you might alter your own life in a way that adds to the world. What can you bring to this life that would make it better before you leave?
Ask any immigrant and they’ll tell you that America is still seen as the land of opportunity. Are you taking hold of that opportunity or are you taking it for granted? Remember, you are free to do as you ought. You are free to get uncomfortable and finally pursue real happiness. Get after it.
Until next week; God bless, work hard, and be Excellent!