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Freedom Requires Responsibility

While individual freedoms are to be cherished and enjoyed, they also have to be taken with responsibility

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When I was growing up, my mother gave me advice about proceeding in this world. She said, “Don’t engage in behavior that, if everyone else were to do it, would destroy the world.” I knew what that meant then on a superficial level. Today, the advice seems profound.

What if Everyone Does It?

If you allow junk cars to populate your front lawn, and everyone else follows, how long will it be before your town, and everyone’s town in the entire world, becomes one big junkyard? If you smoke while you drive and then throw the butts onto the street, and all other drivers do the same, how long will it be before the streets are impassible or so littered that they disgust everyone?

If everyone brings a cell phone to a theatre, a movie, a restaurant, or a public gathering and uses it at will, how long will it take before all of society becomes a Tower of Babel?

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Applied today, my mother’s advice tells us that while individual freedoms are to be cherished and enjoyed, they also have to be taken with responsibility. We can’t all be free to do exactly what we want all the time, even if the law allows it. We certainly can’t all engage in behavior that damages the environment, hinders the growth and development of children, or infringes upon other people’s rights.

Pass It On

My mother’s simple admonition needs to be passed on to far more people. This is a simple but all encompassing notion that can help people who might otherwise engage in questionable behavior, unaware of its effect on the overall society.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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America’s Accountability Crisis

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Accountability used to matter and should matter now more than ever. We hear the complaints from average Americans expecting authorities to uphold the rule of law: “It’s a revolving door for criminals; they’re in and out the same day!” “If they don’t have to pay off their student loans, why should I?” “How come some get special treatment?”

Responsible students and their parents paying the bills are wondering why graduation ceremonies are being canceled because of a few hundred irresponsible demonstrators. Responsible students want to fulfill their dream of a college graduation in front of their proud family and friends.

Now, at times violent and destructive anti-Israel demonstrators are demanding amnesty for their actions. In America, demonstrators certainly have the right to take a stand for their views. It’s another matter entirely to attack police officers, destroy university property, or threaten to kill anyone because of their race, religion, or politics. Coming with the right to demonstrate, comes the corresponding responsibility to endure the consequences for their actions.

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Thankfully, some university administrators are taking steps to hold students responsible. Even with many liberal faculty criticizing his response, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced that he remains committed to using facial-recognition technology to identify those who carried out violent attacks: “To that end, inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Safety Officer Rick Braziel is leading a law enforcement investigation to identify the perpetrators of the violence and hold them to account. The LAPD has committed a detective to assist in our investigative efforts, and we have also connected with the FBI about possible assistance. We have spoken to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to solicit his help in ensuring that the instigators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Rhode Island School of Design president, Crystal Williams, had had enough. She confronted the demonstrators on campus requiring them to undergo a “restorative justice process.” They had to return the occupied space to its original condition and have constructive dialogue with the students negatively impacted. If they did not honor her deadline to leave their encampment, those remaining would face expulsion. Faced with strong leadership, the students complied.

Senators Marco Rubio and Representative August Pfluger have written, “The First Amendment guarantees every American the right to free speech, but no one has the right to destroy private property, trespass illegally, or attack innocent people. This is why college administrators are justified in disbanding anti-Israel protests-turned-riots by force. We can and should, however, go one step further: we should deport the non-Americans who have participated in these riots.”

In short, criminal demonstrators should face consequences and not be rewarded with amnesty. But our crisis in accountability goes beyond how we respond to the demonstrations in support of Hamas. When you do any crime, you should be responsible to do the time. The failure to face consequences just encourages more crime. It’s time to end the revolving door for any criminal and return to requiring bail in order to be released. Violators should be charged and know that those charges will remain on their record.

The crisis of accountability goes beyond how we handle crime. Students should be responsible for the loans they incur in securing a degree. They signed the loan; it’s their debt to pay. President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional practice of forgiving student loan debt for some in hopes of securing their vote strikes at the core of our shared values. Why should anyone pay off their debt? In fact, why doesn’t Biden forgive our mortgage debt, our credit card debt, or our medical debts?

Aristotle took a stand for accountability when he wrote, “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” There is a cost to the failure to hold people accountable. That cost is our very freedom.

John Locke observed, “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”

Society functions because everyone is required to play by the same rules. When rules are not enforced, when criminals are set free instead of being held accountable, and when some citizens are given special treatment, we put our republic in jeopardy. In November, take a stand for accountability. Return Republicans to office with every vote you make.

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