S:0195 Distinction: Freedom vs. Liberty

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Most people are at liberty to go where they want and do what they want. Sometimes we take our liberty for granted. This point was demonstrated a few years ago when a visitor from Russia was amazed to learn that we could decide, at any time, to fill the car with gas and head out to a city across the country without asking for permission or needing “travel papers”. Liberty is external, it is something granted to you from the outside, such as laws and regulations.

Freedom comes from the inside. You are controlled by your beliefs, standards, values and self-perceptions. If these internal factors say that you cannot do something or be someone, then you are not free, even though you have liberty. Freedom lives inside liberty, freedom requires liberty, but being free to choose comes from you.


Coaching Point: What keeps you from being free to choose?


Copyright 1999 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.