Happy 4th of July
Is this a perfect country? Heck no. Just look at our last few presidents. I’d love to see ‘the best of America’ leadership in Washington rather than what we’ve endured with these last few presidents. I was raised in the ‘70s when we recited the ‘pledge of allegiance to start our school day, and I could ‘feel’ the expansive emotions of patriotism.
I’ll spare the laundry list of everything wrong with the great USA (there’s plenty). Today I’m incredibly thankful for the simple principle of FREEDOM. This country was organized and constitutionalized around the basic idea that people should make decisions for themselves. And that (as a whole) a country full of freedom making decisions for themselves would be far better than a dictator or monarchy.
Unlimited personal freedom has the obvious problem of one person’s freedom negatively impacting someone else. And, civilization is ultimately an agreement between people around some common decisions about community resources (taxes), infrastructure, education, social programs, etc. We agree to give up some personal freedom to benefit from the protections and improved civilized life.
The debates of the founders were hard fought. Not to protect their own power, but to protect the people (the country) from some power-hungry politician trying to turn it upside down for their own benefit. It’s easy to see these types of megalomaniacs in the world around us. And we don’t need to look very far back in our own history to see politicians trying to strongarm themselves at the risk of our foundation.
But this freedom comes at a cost. From the start, it was the cost was paid with the blood of patriots who stood up to the dictator of the day, to extract US from their control. And this great country was born. Sadly, blood was still required from time to time to stand up to some bully here or there. I salute the brave women and men who serve our country (and others) and dedicate their time to protect and defend. To those of you who have given your life/limbs, or who have lost loved ones in the defense of freedom. You have my full respect and love.
FREEDOM STILL REQUIRES A PRICE
Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast – Viktor Franlk
The ultimate price of freedom is RESPONSIBILITY.
We must hold ourselves (and others) RESPONSIBLE to the high standard of consequences for our decisions. No personal life, business, community, or country can survive the imbalance of FREEDOM without RESPONSIBILITY. Everyone will say they want FREEDOM. While, many of these same people will look for ways to shirk accountability, RESPONSIBILITY, and the consequences of their decisions.
There’s no free lunch.
You reap what you sow.
What comes around, goes around.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
At the heart of these quotes/ideas is that the consequences of our decisions are inescapable. And, that smart decisions will lead to more happiness and results. Yet, the more we strive to escape (or even protect others) from RESPONSILBITY, the more we implement laws, policies, and processes that chip away at the very FREEDOM we cherish. It’s up to society to decide on the agreement we make for ‘civilization,’ but never forget that as civilization takes more RESPONSIBILITY, the cost is individual FREEDOM.
This is true in our personal lives. This is true in our families. This is true in our work. And this is ultimately true in our country. Freedom in our country is built on the responsibility of our citizens at an individual level. The same is true at work. The best teams are made of the best people cooperating and working together in an environment of trust, respect, and RESPONSIBILITY.
The intertwined fibers of FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY create a strong culture of respect, trust, and results that both protect us today and ensure that we can navigate the problems that can overwhelm us.
I plead for all of you (in every country) to rise up and take ownership of the FREEDOM you crave. At home, at work, and in the community – BE RESPONSIBLE! Take care of your _____self/stuff_____.
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” JFK
What can we do?
We can show patience, kindness, caring, and respect for others. We can work hard and go the extra mile. We can stop demanding a ‘free lunch’ and express gratitude when someone (or work) gives us one. We can stop chasing clicks and fleeting pleasures and instead invest in physical, emotional, and mental wellness. … it’s all the simple and basic principles that we all know are true.
Your singular commitment to a RESPONSIBLE LIFE matters. Your responsible life will lift your family. It will lift your team. It will lift your department. It will lift your company, community, country, and world.
You matter. I matter. We matter together. We are the solution.
After all – I’m PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN. America is simply US.