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spike bullet July 2007 - Let Freedom Ring!moving fireworks graphic

What is Freedom?
Why is Freedom so important?
What can we do with the Freedom to control our thoughts?  
Workplace tips
What will you do with the Freedom you have?
Resources (links, books, articles, the lighter side)

color bulletLet Freedom Ring!

What is Freedom?  

In the United States, we celebrate our independence on July 4th every year.  It often is celebrated with fireworks, loud celebrations with friends, family picnics, fun, play activities and sports.  

Freedom means different things to different people.  To some, Freedom means being wealthy and free of financial worries.  To others, Freedom means the ability to pursue their dream.  To others, Freedom means being able to say what they think.  To others, Freedom means living without fear and oppression, and being able to move about freely.  To others, Freedom means having their own business and not having to listen to a boss tell them what to do.  

No matter what your definition of Freedom may be, one thing that is common to all of us  where ever we live is the freedom to think what we want to think.  We can choose to think happy thoughts or we can choose to make our selves miserable and everything in between.

Some people right now might be questioning whether our thoughts are really free choices.  I believe they are.  I believe that we can control our thoughts and therefore, we can control our destiny regardless of our physical environment, our race, our ethnicity, our economic status, our job, our culture, our country,  our political views or our religious viewpoints.  

If we are mad or angry or sad, we can choose to focus our attention on something that makes us feel better.  Or, we can wallow in the bad feelings.  Sometimes, that is appropriate.  At other times, we can let ourselves be sucked into negativity and give up our freedom.  Or we can choose to change our thoughts to focus on our hopes, our loves, our joy, our bliss and our dreams for the future.  

In truth, no one can get inside our head and make us think anything.  People can persuade, they can beg and plead, they can bribe, they can train and they can threaten.  But, no matter what they try to do, no one can change our thoughts nor change our feelings nor change our beliefs.  We are in control of those.  And, even more important, we are the only one who is in control of our mind and our thoughts.  At times of high stress, we may feel like we are out of control, and that is also our choice in that moment.

Why is Freedom so important? 

Our fore-fathers and mothers left their homeland because of the faith and belief that they could create a better life for themselves and their children.  We are the children, grand-children and great-great-great-grandchildren of those early pioneers living products of independent spirits who had a drive to succeed based on the strong beliefs that we are truly free to control our thoughts and  therefore, we do control our own destiny.  Those strong beliefs created a country that prides itself on Freedom and Independence, a country that revels in the diversity created by that Freedom in spite of the many challenges it gives us every day.  Those strong beliefs created a country that so values freedom of speech that we wrote it into our Constitution as the First Amendment.  Those strong beliefs created men such as Patrick Henry who in 1775 proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death."

Ultimately, our happiness depends on our ability to be free to determine our own destiny.  If we feel out of control or powerless to control our lives, we will follow along with whatever someone else does and our lives will be chaotic without direction.  If we feel confident in our ability to control our thoughts, we can freely choose whether to go along with someone else's ideas or to pursue our own dreams.  And, we grow stronger as we learn how successful we are in making our own decisions.  

What can we do with the Freedom to control our thoughts?  

We can choose to be happy or we can choose to be unhappy.  We can choose to follow our bliss or stay where we are unhappy.   We can choose to be creative or to allow our creativity to rust away from dis-use.  We can choose to teach our children to be better people and give them the strength and courage to follow their own beliefs when they grow up, or we can set a bad example for them.  We can choose to help our employees learn successful techniques for self-managing their jobs or we can try to control them by coercion until they rebel. 

We can choose to feel resentment because Mary or Marty got a promotion that we wanted.  Or, we can choose to do the very best job we can every day with our own talents and gifts.  We can choose to congratulate Mary or Marty on their promotion and ask them to teach how they became so successful.  We can choose to learn more about our field, to experiment with new ideas, to do research on our own about new methods or new systems or new products that might make our jobs easier.  

We can choose to complain about XYZ policy or XYZ manager or XYZ co-worker or XYZ company until we are miserable and make everyone else around us try to avoid us.  Or, we can choose to mind our own tasks, make our own work better, make our own environment more attractive or work on improving our own relationships.  We can see our glass as half full instead of half empty.  We can feel gratitude for the good things we have experience in our workplace, for the fact we have a good job and we can compare ourselves to less fortunate people instead of those who have something we don't.  We can appreciate the simple things in life - food, shelter, sunshine, rain, fresh air, freedom to move about freely, people who love us, work that interest us or the infinite variety of experiences that we have barely tapped.  

Workplace tips

Some of 7.5 on-the-job things you can do to keep a positive focus - adapted from the Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude

1.  Stop blaming circumstances for your situation.  It's not the rain, or the car, or the phone, or the product.  It's YOU.  You have a choice in everything you do.  Choose a better way.  Don't blame the path  change the path.  Don't blame the situation  change the situation.

2.  Stop blaming other people for your situation.  Take responsibility for yourself and your actions.   If you are consistently blaming other people, guess what, Bubba, get over it it ain't them.

3.  Know your customer or prospect better.  Knowing your customer is just as powerful to prevent problems as it is to handle them.  If you can't get the prospect on the phone, it's your fault for not knowing the best time to reach him.  Know the right time to call.  Know when a decision is to be made.  Double confirm every appointment.

4.  Persist until you achieve closure.  People respect those who care enough to follow up.  If someone doesn't call you back when they said they would, call them.  Instead of waiting for someone to respond after it's been a few days, ask them if there is anything you can do to move things along.  People forget, get busy or get distracted.  E-mail messages and phone messages get lost in the great mysterious unknown ethers.  Your priority is not necessarily their priority.  If you just sit back and wait, many projects will never get completed.  So be bold, take the next step, check on the status, ask questions, follow-up, create reminders for yourself, do whatever it takes until you get closure.  People really notice someone who is good at follow-up.  Do you have what it takes to get the job done and done well?  [#4 was changed from the book]

5.  Know where you are or where you should be.  Manage your time.  Have lunch with a customer, not a friend.  Keep perfect records.  Know enough about your prospect or customer that follow-up becomes easy and fun.  Are you organized to get to the tenth exposure and have the situation under control enough to make the sale?

6.  Work on your skills every day.  Books, CDs, seminars.  You can never read enough books or listen to enough CDs.  I challenge you to do for an hour a day.  One hour a day, seven days a week, for one year is equal to more than nine full weeks of work.  The next time you mindlessly turn on the TV, think about what you could be doing to improve your focus and your knowledge base.

7.  Become solution-oriented.  Instead of griping or wallowing in your problem, why not spend the same amount of time working on solutions?   Being solution-oriented has done more for me and my path to success than any single strategy. Every obstacle present an opportunity if you are looking for it.  If you're too busy concentrating on the problem, the opportunity will pass you by. 

7.5  Think before talking.  People speak without thinking, only to regret what they said.  Every time you are about to engage someone else, think qu9ckly about what it is you are about to say.  How will the words be received?  And what else could you be saying that might create a more positive expression?  The goal is a positive response or result.  The action seems simple, but it requires the most self-discipline.  Try it a few times.  You'll be amazed at the results.  

The choice is (and always has been) yours.  Are you missing opportunities because you are too focused on obstacles? 

What will you do with the Freedom you have?  moving fireworks graphic2

  • Will you use your Freedom to make your life better?   
  • Will you choose to see your situation at work as one of great opportunity?  
  • Will you see opportunities for improvements everywhere you look and do what you can to make things better where ever you find yourself?
  • Will you choose to think happy thoughts as often as possible?  
  • Will you choose to let go of negativity in your thoughts and words?
  • Will you choose to make someone's day by giving them a compliment or helping them with a task?
  • Will you do something to make the world a better place than you found it?
The choice is yours.  You have Freedom of thought and that is a Freedom that no one can ever take away from you.  

Have a great month and enjoy your Freedom in whatever way brings you happiness.  

  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books

world wide web - articles  Articles

Related newsletter articles:
     May 2007 - The Law of Attraction at Work
     September 2004 - Stress Busters:  Managing Stress in the Workplace
     June, 1997 - Basic Human Needs  (Freedom)
     October 2002 - Reducing Stress in the Workplace
     May 2002 - Stress: How It Affects the Roles We Play
     July 2001 - Balancing Life and Work 

  smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

Carefully watch your thoughts for they become your words.
Manage and watch your words for they will become your actions.
Consider and judge your actions for they have become your habits.
Acknowledge and watch your habits for they shall become your values.
Understand your values for they become your destiny.
                   
Mahatma Gandhi

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
                   Abraham Lincoln

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
a mighty woman with a torch
whose flame is imprisoned lightning,
and her name Mother of Exiles.

From her beacon-hand glows
world-wide welcome;
her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor
that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands your storied pomp!"
cries she with silent lips.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) - a engraved on plaque at the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.  

 

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs in these links.   We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

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