Personal Freedom and the Pursuit of Happiness

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

- Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

244 years after the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress, here in the United States, we set aside an entire day to celebrate Freedom.

Freedom is the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

"Free at last!  Free at last.  Thank God almighty, we are free at last."  – Martin Luther King, I have a Dream Speech, 1963

What does it mean to be Free?  

Personal Freedom

I challenge my clients with this question: 

What are your minimum requirements for Personal Freedom?

With a puzzled look on their face, they usually ask:  

What do you mean by Personal Freedom?


I divide Personal Freedom into 5 arenas:  Financial, Physical, Emotional, Psychological and Spiritual.


Take some time to journal these 5 questions:

1. What are your minimum requirements for Financial Freedom?

    • Hint.  Perhaps this is the number you need to hit in your bank account to feel financially secure.  Maybe it's a salary.  Or maybe a revenue target for your business.


2. What are your minimum requirements for Physical Freedom?

    • Hint.  Perhaps this is an ideal weight.  An ideal time in a race.  Maybe it's a range of motion you'll attain or the number of pushups you will be able to do.


3. What are your minimum requirements for Emotional Freedom?

    • Hint.  Perhaps this describes an aspiration of finding a place or a group of friends where you can safely express your deepest emotions.  


4. What are your minimum requirements for Psychological Freedom?

    • Hint.  Perhaps these are the core values you use to navigate difficult situations.  Maybe it’s the self-talk you use to motivate yourself.  Or maybe this is your search for a group of people with whom you can brainstorm and evaluate bravely creative ideas. 


5. What are your minimum requirements for Spiritual Freedom?

    • Hint.  Perhaps this is how many moments in a month when you feel divine presence.  Moments when the universe opens up and you get a glimpse of infinity, feeling a little slice of serenity.  


Ooh, personal freedom is feeling GOOD!  

Just for fun, here's a sixth Arena of Personal Freedom that I call Guilty Pleasures.  Here's my two.

Guilty Pleasure #1.  My Dad always kept the thermostat at 65 degrees in the winter.  Growing up, my fingers and toes were always cold.  I adopted my first guilty pleasure as soon as I left home.  My thermostat is set at 72 degrees in the winter.  

Guilty Pleasure #2.  I like to eat out wherever and with whomever and NOT worry what it costs.  Sharing an intimate meal with my significant other should be extravagant.  Sharing a meal with a group of friends or clients should be enjoyed with good food and a free flow of conversation.  A good meal generates Freedom of Expression!  

  • What are your minimum requirements for 2-3 Guilty Pleasures?

As the Declaration of Independence states, freedom allows us the pursuit of happiness.

The Problem with the Pursuit of Happiness

Do this.  Do that.  Do this.  Do that.  Only then, will you achieve … Happiness

Why in the world would I hold my happiness hostage until I attain self-made goals and expectations of personal freedom?!

That's why I ask the question:

  • What are your minimum requirements for personal freedom?  

By identifying minimum requirements for personal freedom, you can attain happiness in shorter and shorter intervals.  

In fact, do you want to meet your minimum requirements for Personal Freedom AND achieve happiness Right Now?  

Simply answer these five questions:

  • What Financial Freedom do I have right now?
  • What Physical Freedom do I have right now?
  • What Emotional Freedom do I have right now?
  • What Psychological Freedom do I have right now?
  • What Spiritual Freedom do I have right now?

By celebrating minimum requirements of personal freedom, you generate a deep sense of gratitude and happiness right now!  

Wow!  You can feel happy now AND pursue happiness at the same time!

Repeat after me:  

I will Pursue Happiness, Happily!


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