What does ‘freedom’ mean to you

Eniola Fapohunda Written by Eniola Fapohunda · 2 min read >

For me, freedom does not mean there’s no limitation, there will be limitations. The limitations are what we call constraints limitations. Constraints also come from our past choices, constraints that come from our human nature. The maturity is to embrace our choices, no one is compelling no one, there are just constraints.

The concept of free choice: Terms like freedom and free choice are often used in very imprecise ways. That human beings have the power of free choice is not difficult to establish, we just have to pay attention to our own decision.

Men are free because they are intelligent. The behaviour of animals is determined by their instincts and emotional impulses.

Man is capable of abstract knowledge, every decision is based on one reason or the other, but it still lies within man’s control to determine which reason will move him.

Freedom ‘from’ and freedom ‘for’

It is useful to differentiate the two types of freedom;

The freedom from constraints or freedom to do as I please

The freedom for excellence and fulfilment as a human being, a person who does always and only what he feels like doing at each moment does not have real freedom, but rather becomes a puppet of his emotions and his circumstances, reacting to immediate stimuli in a way that is basically similar to that of the other animals.

Freedom and Commitments

Closely related to the contrast between freedom ‘from’ and freedom ‘for’ is the issue of freedom and commitment. Some shy away from making commitments which is no good. On the contrary, it is precisely through choices and commitments that our freedom becomes effective, as one cannot pursue effectively one’s fulfilment without making serious commitments.

Freedom and Truth

An example is the youth who insists that he will express his freedom by driving at very high speed by a narrow and slippery mountain road, disregarding the road signs. If we want the exercise of our freedom to lead to our fulfilment, we have to engage in a serious effort of discovering the things that are truly capable of giving us fulfilment, and gain the self-mastery (freedom) needed to pursue them consistently, in spite of the difficulties which may be involved in the process.

The Ultimate Point of Freedom

Ultimately, the real benefit we derive from being free is that it makes it possible for us to be the real authors and sources of the good things.

Responsibility for our Free Choices

Making our own decisions is risky and can often spark conflicts with our neighbours, but we have the responsibility of living like a person rather than like a plant or an animal and this is a responsibility which cannot evade, whether we like it or not.

Freedom and the practice of management

  1. When a manager sets out to manipulate subordinates or potential customers, he fails to treat them like human beings, fails to respect their power of free choice.
  2.   In order to develop managers (and as a person), subordinates have to be given room to choose freely. It is only in this way that they will have the opportunity of internalizing values of loyalty and commitment to the organization; serious work; good service and so on.
  3. Awareness of our power to choose is also essential in order to manage oneself and manage one’s career.

In conclusion,

The fact that human beings have the power of free choice doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to our own decisions. The decisions we make are based on different reasons and the commitments we make to the decisions.

Sharing my experience, I have had to accommodate a couple of people in my one-bedroom apartment due to several reasons. I was happy because I was able to do what I loved doing; helping people, but at some point, it backfired when one of the people I accommodated damaged my property and stole from me. It took me a while before I could forgive but an article ‘If’ by Rudyard Kirpling says, I will be a man if I can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Mine is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

This was me absolutely standing by the decin and commitment I had made and not allowing my past experience becloud my judgment.


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