Today we are less free than at any other point in the history of the world. Somewhere along the line, usually it just happens without us realizing it, we begin to work out of necessity instead of pleasure. We have a family we need to support, a mortgage we need to pay, and several car loans that require regular payments. We lose the freedom of living life on our terms. The harder we work, the more we have to do. Our future looks bleak. We feel dead inside, our soul is unfulfilled and trapped. We are caught in a cycle of doing things we don’t really want to do but are forced to do because of our obligations and duties.
FIND YOUR FREEDOM
Freedom, the tenant of happiness, consists of three parts:
- Freedom to learn: Having the ability to increase the depths of your knowledge without coercion
- Freedom from restrictions: The chance to exercise your passions and find happiness unhindered
- Freedom to succeed: Having the ability to achieve greatness.
In societies where one, or all three of these components are limited or nonexistent people cannot reach their full potential, and vice versa. The greatest example of this is the United States. The United States once protected the principles of freedom like no other country before, and because it gave people the freedom to succeed, the ability to learn and get ahead, and the chance to find happiness the U.S grew more powerful than any other nation.
If you feel yourself unhappily bouncing back and forth like a bumper car at a carnival, as I have at times, part of your freedom has become stunted. So what can we do to live better more passionate lives, achieve our full potential, and find satisfaction for our souls?
EXERCISE THE VIRTUE OF RUNNING
Gandhi. Martin Luther. Aristotle. Alexander the Great. Jesus. Albert Einstein. Dante. Abraham. Moses. Thomas Paine. Benjamin Franklin. Abraham Lincoln. Jacques Cousteau. Isidore of Seville.
What do all of these religious figures, activists, inventors, writers, political figures and philosophers have in common?
They were experts in the virtue of running.
At some point these people, and many more of the most talented men and women throughout history have broken away from the bounds of the status quo and unlocked their talents by starting from ground zero again. When life feels “off” and you can’t place why, returning to a state of inner balance and harmony, ground zero, resets our energy levels and opens our minds by eliminating the distractions that weigh upon us.
We’ve been told that those who run away and escape from life are cowards, or bums with no employable skills. We’ve been told that we must return the favor of those that came before us and sacrificed for our own good, by sacrificing our good for the next generation. But, are you happy? What is happiness?
This confusion about how to be happy keeps us plodding along unsure of what to do about it. We become work horses putting forth the brunt of productivity for the few sleigh riders to leach off of. We are conned into believing that part of living a good life is always doing what you have to do, no matter how much of your own happiness, health and well-being you must give up. And do you know what? WE ARE UNHAPPY! And we accept it as a normal part of life.
But, history says otherwise. Sometimes you must forget yourself, instead of always “remembering your place.” Running, or escaping, from life has a negative connotation. It can even get you shunned. But, if you can open your mind and see running as a virtue you can free yourself from the shackles of duty and expectations that keep you from living. Leaving behind the demands of people helps you unlock your own talents and experience personal growth.
At some point in your life, or at many points, running away from the ropes that bind you and going on a nomadic excursion, or running, is essential for developing into a happy and fulfilled person.
Some questions to think about, and ones that we’ll address down the road:
What are the principles of running?
How can I be happy?
How can you overcome the scary thought of “running” from “your role in the world?”
How can you live a better, happier, more fulfilled life and experience the world in-depth?
Can you balance your duties and your passions?
What is happiness?