In this post, I thought I’d talk about a book that I initially read several years ago, and have recently revisited once again.
It is one of the most empowering books I’ve ever read, and was written by a personal ‘hero’ of mine, Harry Browne.
Living an 'unfree' life might not be so bad if you didn't know that you were not free. But once you realize your lack of freedom, you have the natural urge to overcome all obstacles to become free.
It is titled How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, and the subtitle accurately describes the contents: “A Handbook for Personal Liberty”.
Although Harry was involved in politics, this book isn’t political in nature; it touches more on the philosophy of liberty and specific actions you can take in your own life to increase your personal liberty.
The book starts by explaining a few (of the many) ways that you aren’t free. He talks about the ‘traps’ we often fall into that keep us from being free.
These traps are usually modes of thinking that are on autopilot, and were most likely picked up from those around us.
Are You Trapped?
For example, one of these traps is titled The Previous Investment Trap.
This trap is what keeps people stuck in a bad career or relationship, simply because of the amount of time they have already invested into it (chasing bad money with good).
There are more than a dozen ‘traps’ in all, and they cover many different areas of life, such as: morality, identity, the emotional & intellectual traps, and so on.
In Part 2 of the book, he explains some of the ways you can be free of these traps; in other words, how you can escape from the traps you’re already stuck in.
You don’t have to buy from anyone, work at any particular job, or participate in any given relationship. You can choose.
And that's what personal liberty is all about: choice.
Starting From Zero
Part of the way you become free is using a technique called Zero-based Thinking. I originally heard about this technique from Brian Tracy, and it is basically where you reevaluate your past decisions and ask:
If I had not made this decision already, would I make it now, knowing what I do about the outcome?
If you could travel back in time to the moment you were about to begin dating your current partner, start your business, or buy your house, would you do it again knowing the outcome?
Answering “no” to any questions using zero-based thinking means that you’ll need to start re-designing your life. It may be tough, but it’s far less painful than living an un-fulfilling life.
I use this zero-based thinking mentality when setting new goals.
As with some of the other books I’ve reviewed, it’s hard to understate the positive impact this book has had in my life. It easily earns a spot in the top 10 books I’ve ever read, out of more than a thousand books.
The ability to become free, both in your mind and in your personal life, is achievable by following the suggestions contained inside.
I’ve been able to carve out more freedom, autonomy, and peace that I ever thought possible by putting all of this into action.
It's well worth a read, and it's one of those few books you can revisit from time to time and gather new insight with each subsequent reading.
That’s it for now, and I’ll end this post with the quote from Harry:
A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything.