Since time immemorial we humans have wanted to be free of constraints and limitations. We have this inbuilt hankering to break free of anything that limits us, or constrains us. In exploring limits we have explored the four corners of the planet; we have peered deep into sub-atomic particles and have explored the farthest reaches of space. If there is a limit or constraint, we seem to be genetically wired to understand it and be free of it.
For some of us the quest for freedom is a personal one, one that goes to the inner dimensions of what we experience as limits and constraints. For others it is to obtain greater freedom for self and for society as a whole, or at least, some specific segment of society.
Being free is so essential to our sense of being human than one of the punishments that society imposes on its law-breakers is to deprive them of their freedom; in some cases incarcerate them for the rest of their natural lives – the ultimate constraint of physical freedom.
It’s hard to think of freedom without inquiring, “freedom from what?” or, “freedom so as to (fill in the blank– do, be, have,____ what?” Pursuing this inquiry inevitably brings the quest for freedom down to earth, and very personally. It gives us “our project” — the future we want to go to work on. It helps us see what’s wanted and needed, and the changes that need to be made. Without a lot of effort we are able to see what we need to stop doing, what we need to start doing, what we need to continue doing, and what we need to do differently.
It is only in going for the future we want that we begin to feel the gravitational pull that keeps our day-to-day way of being, or way of doing things in place – the habits that make up so much of our day-to-day lives. We won’t realize the effort that is required to break free from our habitual ways of doing things until we take on (as in commit to), personal or organizational changes.
I was personally confronted with the pull of habit, and what it takes to change behavior, after years driving in the UK. During my first months driving in the United States I was constantly being surprised at how difficult it was to remember to go to the left hand side of the car and drive on the right hand side of the road. Really, how hard is it to understand that simple required change? That said, I was even more surprised at how long that “difficulty” persisted, ‘till I was on automatic again, but this time on the right side of the road.Download Article 500 Club