The Relationship Between Freedom and Education
We spend our younger years in school anxious to graduate. Many students feel that school demands an excessive amount of work between their many academic and athletic obligations. School almost feels like a prison where every hour of every day is accounted for and there is little room for pursuing leisure activities.
The average person must ‘endure’ a minimum of thirteen years of classes, assignments, projects, and extracurricular activities. Following high school, there might be college and even graduate school. We fantasize about what our lives will be like post graduation because we feel that once our education is behind us we will finally be able to start living our lives. We will have earned the freedom to do whatever we want!
The Post-Graduation Reality Check
Unfortunately, the reverse is often true. We unwittingly surrender our freedom after graduation upon entering the workforce. No longer given a time frame for mastering new skills, we stop practicing. Without deadlines for learning new material, we stop reading.
Instead, we focus all of our energy on maintaining our jobs, pleasing our superiors and conforming to societal norms. (There’s nothing quite like a mortgage to act as a weight strapped to one’s ankle!) For the next half a century or more, we are prisoners of the opinions, rules, and demands of those in authority over us.
In a speech at the U.S. House of Representative in 1816, John C. Calhoun spoke the following wise words: “It has been said by some physicians, that life is a forced state. The same may be said of freedom. It requires efforts, it presupposes mental and moral qualities of a high order to be generally diffused in the society where it exists.”
The good news is that the freedom we have been craving since those grueling school years was at our fingertips all along! Once you’re done learning the basics, you can continue your quest for freedom by focusing on what you really want to do with your life.
You can now tailor your growth and learning in respect to what you desire to contribute to the world. However, this requires effort as Mr. Calhoun describes. Freedom is not a passive state of being but something that requires a lifetime of challenging oneself intellectually.
Freedom Synonymous with Power
When we stop actively seeking out new information, we put ourselves at the mercy of our superiors. The most powerful people in the world are those who realize that unless they are constantly growing, changing and learning, they will become stagnant and unable to make an impact on society.
The world’s most influential figures don’t consider their education complete once they have met the requirements set by an institution to earn a degree. They acknowledge that just as their environment is always morphing and changing, they must also stay current and informed, ready and willing to ‘roll with the societal punches’.
The reality is that if you don’t make an effort to read and learn post-graduation, you are sentencing yourself to a lifetime of subordination, always looking to someone else to tell you what your next step is going to be.
The One and Only You
In my seminars, I try to emphasize keeping our lives in perspective. Our choices must be made with full consideration to the fact that in the history of the world, there was never anyone exactly like you nor will there ever be someone just like you in the future.
By not continuing to read and educate ourselves, we stop focusing on improving ourselves and are distracted by the expectations placed on us by those around us. This in turn can compromise our ability to reach our full potential.
In honor of Memorial Day, read! Learn! Silence the voices within your mind that pose the greatest threat to your personal success in life. Become a P.O.W. [Prisoner Of Words] to become free!
Contact my office to learn more about how I can help you overcome a lifetime of mental and emotional obstacles that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential.