My first two books are business books and focus on my many years of learning and refining my approach to leadership. So, it may come as a surprise that my newest book is a non-business book.
Well, as I’m sure you’ll agree, some problems transcend business, and leadership applies to more than for-profit endeavors. For many years, I considered writing about the challenges and opportunities facing our great nation.
In May 2015, I sensed a passion welling up within me. I felt compelled to research, write, and speak on what I have been observing all of these years in America.
A June 2019 Gallup poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans were “dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time.”
This dissatisfaction is the reason more and more people in America are thinking, I want my country back.
How did we get to this point?
I believe we find the root cause of the problem in what I call the Life and Liberty Equation:
Freedom + Responsibility = Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
You see, America was established on the core values of freedom and responsibility. When founded, our country had a healthy tension between personal responsibilities and the vast freedoms that we enjoy. However, we have lost that healthy tension.
The problem is on the left side of the equation: we no longer think, speak, and behave responsibly in our culture, and that, in turn, has created many of the detrimental changes that have occurred in our great nation.
When our focus and motivation are based only on “my rights” (freedoms) and we neglect our corresponding responsibilities, chaos ensues.
When our thinking revolves around our personal rights and freedoms alone, our attitude and behaviors become all about me—a self-centeredness rooted in pride.
Often today, the focus is about “my rights” (my freedom) to say and do whatever I want to say and do, whenever I want to say and do it, to whom I want to say and do it to, wherever I want to say and do it, and how I want to say and do it—without regard of others’ rights. This thinking is the epitome of freedom from responsibility.
Where do you think our . . .
Detachment by society’s elite,
Discord among the poor,
. . . come from?
When we pursue freedoms without regard to the principles of responsibility, we encounter the emptiness, frustration, and loneliness that are so evident in our divided nation today.
So, how did our sense of responsibility disappear?
It is because America has a heart condition. No, I’m not talking about the health of the physical condition of our heart. I’m talking about our overall well-being.
The truth is, we have not “guarded your heart” and our mind. We’ve ignored our responsibilities as we’ve pursued our freedoms.
But don’t miss the wisdom of The Freedom Paradox:
The more we behave irresponsibly, the more freedoms we lose.
The more we embrace responsibility, the greater freedoms we enjoy.
Individual rights assume (and require) individual responsibility.
Therefore, let’s leverage our individual rights for the benefit of others to prevent our freedom from devouring itself and us.
What about you? Have you noticed those around you, or in the news, pursuing their freedoms while ignoring their responsibilities? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.