How to Achieve True Liberty

|June 6, 2023

A Note From Amanda: Everything we do here at Manward is designed to help our readers get their financial house in order. Because if your house isn’t in order… you can’t live the life you want… do the things you want… or help others the way you want. Today, Joel takes that idea further… and examines its effects on your health, relationships and community. Read on below.

I received a letter recently from a lady completely frustrated by the state of our economy, society, government and almost every other facet of our culture.

She asked how to get rid of Big Government. How to stop mRNA injections in livestock. How to end FBI corruption.

As I read the diatribe and nodded along, what struck me most was that she and her family have many major health problems. She’s ready to give up.

I realized that her raging against “the man” was a distraction… a way to escape what really needed to be done.

All of us suffer from this problem to a certain extent. When we don’t want to solve our own problem, we’re tempted to solve somebody else’s.

Telling someone else what they should do is always more enjoyable than looking in the mirror and dealing with our own issues.

In the iconic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey addressed this with his principle called the “sphere of influence.”

Over the years, I’ve found this to be one of the most emotionally liberating principles.

The basic idea is that when we focus our attention on things beyond our sphere of influence, our actual influence in society shrinks.

But when we focus on what is within our sphere of influence, gaining success and movement, our actual influence expands because we have something that’s attractive to others.

Getting our own house in order is the shining light that ultimately attracts interest.

I find myself routinely tempted to get involved in issues beyond my control as a way to distract myself from what’s wrong in my own life.

I read about ways to improve my health… but instead of doing the work, I read a report about the nasty, corrupt agents in the federal government.

While I’m fuming and fulminating about those bad boys, I’m not doing the things I should do to maintain my health.

Many well-intended and even noble activities are actually distractions from what is most critical.

Just look at the airline safety instructions about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping your child with theirs.

What could be more noble than putting an oxygen mask on your child first?

But in a catastrophic situation… if you can’t breathe, you can’t be much help.

We grow up hearing about serving others. That’s a good thing.

But serving others to our own detriment eventually reduces our effectiveness.

If we want to serve others, we need to have the wherewithal to do it. That’s not selfishness… it’s a fact of physics. If I’m struggling to survive, I don’t have enough energy or capacity to help other people survive.

This is obvious enough to sound silly, but I think in our day we need to remind ourselves of its truth.

Real Value

The temptation to rage against the state – or whatever else you find worthy of wrath – often displaces the energy we need to actually be helpful when we’re most needed.

As I’ve watched the recent urban-to-rural flight, I’ve been struck by how many folks are reevaluating value. These urban refugees think America is headed to a bad place, and I tend to agree with them.

What is more valuable than money? How about a garden? What is more valuable than health insurance? Personal health.

If the wheels fall off, the one thing you don’t want to be is sick. Folks who can’t do for themselves are the first casualties in socioeconomic hurricanes.

You can grow herbal remedies on your patio. That beats prescription drugs. I’ve had herbalists cure many problems for me… problems for which most people would see a doctor and get a prescription.

Perhaps rather than railing against the Fed, today you need to order a book about developing your own backyard herbal medicine chest.

I’ve seen families completely change their health trajectory with water, forgiveness, better food, exercise and sunshine. This approach has helped folks with diabetes, cancer, autism – the list is endless.

I’d rather rail against the man than plant some vegetables or a fruit tree… but if the wheels fall off, some carrots and apples will be far more valuable than a tantrum against something I can’t change.

I’m preaching to myself here. Trust me. I can think of all sorts of noble things to do beyond my sphere of influence.

But if I really want freedom and liberty, if I really want to build my immunity to diseases both physical and economic, getting my own life and household in order is the best way to start.

Investing in things like food, shelter and health ultimately creates a flourishing life to help others who failed to prioritize their own well-being.

The tragedy of human experience is being successful at things that don’t matter.

I challenge us all to take stock and get rid of the distractions that keep us from working on ourselves. If I’m robust, I have a much better chance of helping someone else.

That’s how to grow a sphere of influence.

Joel Salatin
Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin calls himself a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer. Others who like him call him the most famous farmer in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson. Those who don’t like him call him a bioterrorist, Typhoid Mary, a charlatan, and a starvation advocate. With a room full of debate trophies from high school and college days, 12 published books, and a thriving multigenerational family farm, he draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to entertain and inspire audiences around the world.