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  5. How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty by Harry Browne.
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Block Allow. Harry Browne. Using the same libertarian principles that would underlie a free society, he created a successful and joyous life for himself and his family. He put these principles and techniques into this book.

Harry Browne - Anti-Freedom Traps

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World will not only put you on the path to a freer, happier life, it will inspire almost anyone to take greater responsibility for his own life - to quit focusing on the shortcomings of others and use the sovereignty one does have to take control of one's own life and make the most of it. So, if I feared that a given person might discover something I had been trying to hide, I went to him and told it to him myself.

The experience never failed to give me a wonderful sense of freedom. I no longer had to worry about it; the price had been paid once and for all, and I didn't have to think about it again. In the same way, if there is something about myself that makes me self-conscious, I examine it closely. I invariably discover that it's either nothing to be self-conscious about or something that can be easily changed.

Honesty is displaying yourself to others as you really are. But, of course, you can't be truthful about something you don't know. And that's why it's so important to examine yourself, understand yourself, and accept yourself. Only when you know who you are can you honestly represent yourself to others. The individual who doesn't know himself can't speak with authority about himself.

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He can't make promises, because he doesn't know himself well enough to foresee his future emotions and actions. He can't express authoritative opinions, because he doesn't really know what he believes. He uses the word "I" dishonestly. He begins statements with "I think He says, "I will The word "I" is one of the most important words in the English language.


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  • It refers to a unique, individual entity, different from all others in the world. When you use the word, you should be sure you're really expressing the unique, individual entity that is you—not simply repeating something that sounded good to you. To be honest, you must know yourself well.

    Free Yourself

    And that involves integrity—which is honesty's twin asset. Integrity is knowing yourself well enough to be able to mean what you say. The person with integrity can use the word "I" with authority. He knows what he thinks—for he's thought it out for himself. The effort to prevent discovery of facts about yourself can be costly and draining. But it's perhaps the easiest self-destructive habit one can practice. I've had to work with it—and work with it again. It's so important to me that I don't like to go for very long without rechecking myself to be sure I haven't unthinkingly relapsed into dishonesty.

    And, unfortunately, sometimes my rechecking reveals that I have fallen back. But my efforts to correct it have been worth the trouble many times over. Discovering myself and displaying that self has brought me countless benefits, valuable friends, a clean, uncluttered life, and a wide expanse of freedom that I didn't even know existed until I tried being totally honest. As I've said before, there may be more things depriving you of freedom than the particular restriction that prompted you to pick up this book.

    Freedom can be lost through many traps, boxes, and temptations. And what seems to be harmless dishonesty can turn out to be one of the greatest restrictions of all. Dishonesty is a form of the Identity Trap. When you lie to someone, you're falling for the temptation to think that you'll be more attractive and get more of what you want if you appear to be something different from what you are. Learn to trust your own nature, your own identity. Accept it, live it, reveal it. Don't suppress it; don't attempt to shade it with little lies and half-truths. When you do, you miss so much of life and the happiness that can be yours.

    By being only what you are, you can awaken each morning to a new day that's an opportunity to seek whatever you want—with no previous deceptions to get in your way. When you try to live up to an image dictated by others, it can be very difficult to know exactly who you are and what you want. You're a unique individual—different from anyone else in the world.

    And what you are is revealed mostly by how you react to things around you—what pleases you and what causes you discomfort. These are the signals that let you know what kind of life you crave, what will bring you happiness.

    How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World A Handbook for Personal Liberty

    Unfortunately, the signals become distorted if you've lived most of your life in involved relationships. If you've grown up living with your parents, then lived with a roommate, and then married, the people around you may have played a large part in determining your tastes and values. Even if the people around you haven't been demanding or tyrannical, you've still had to consider them when making decisions.

    As a result, what you now consider to be your tastes might be more a reflection of your past routine than of your natural emotional needs. If so, your experiences might be much less than they could be—perhaps pleasant, but not joyful and exciting. You need time alone to act completely on your own desires—to discover the kinds of entertainment that please you, to realize such things as what color you'd most like your living room to be, to daydream and discover what you're now missing. Your desires will be best learned when there's no one around to influence and inhibit you.

    There are three basic sources of information to tell you what you want most—past experiences, daydreams, and new experiences. If you examine each of them more closely, you'll discover a great deal about yourself that will tell you what kind of life you need in order to be happy. Each of them requires time to yourself—time when you can do what you want to do and discover how much it pleases you.

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    Start by looking back over your life. Take some time alone and think about things you've done before. Try to recapture those moments of full-bodied happiness—times when you were almost dizzy with joy. Try to remember all such experiences, no matter how long past. Remember the joy you felt—the feeling that for once you were totally satisfied.

    And then examine the experience to try to determine what it was that made it so ecstatic. You might want to disregard such experiences if you think they can't be repeated. Maybe they can't. But why not create new experiences that are similar? Perhaps people who were important to that happiness are lost to you now. But if you can understand what made those people so important, you can find others like them.

    Indulge yourself in your past joys. And then start to figure out how you can make such things happen again.

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    Your fantasies or daydreams are another important source of information. Most people don't take their daydreams seriously. They consider them nothing more than an escape from the rigors of the real world. They're unfree, and they don't believe that their dreams could be satisfied.

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