You were born with the potential for greatness. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. The problem is, one day, when you least expect it, that potential may be snatched right out from under you. And you’ll never see the blow coming. It will masquerade as a gift — a freebie — but it’s the devil in disguise. The fact is, it may be free, but you’ll pay dearly.
It’s easy to be tempted by a freebie, but the cost you pay is real. Why pay your dues if rewards are served to you on a silver platter? Why shed blood, sweat, and tears if you can reap the benefits without putting in the hard work? While you may think you’re getting a free ride, nothing can be further from the truth. Before you know it, dependency will strip you of your confidence, trample your dignity, and defeat your sense of purpose.
Dependency: Hooked on the Good Graces of Others
When you condition your body, you make it powerful. Every day you make the effort, you build strength; every time you overcome a challenge, you build determination; and every milestone that you cross builds confidence. The hard work and sacrifice make you better and stronger every day. Furthermore, when you cross the finish line, you can take pride knowing that you earned your success. The converse is also true.
Although everyone is born with the potential for greatness, freebies that lead to dependency can easily destroy that potential. When people receive a handout or have a silver spoon in their mouth, they are disincentivized from working hard, improving themselves, or becoming self-reliant. These freebies also lull them into a false sense of security and complacency. Before they can say, “free lunch,” their knowledge gets stale, their skills weaken, and their passion wanes. Additionally, they lose control of their destiny and become dependent on the kindness of others. The truth is, every effort should be made to help the downtrodden get back on their feet, but they shouldn’t be absolved of their personal responsibility to secure a better future for themselves and their families.
Furthermore, when parents baby their kids by fighting their battles and shielding them from harm, they create a false sense of security, making their kids incapable of standing on their own two feet. The danger is, when pampered kids enter the real world they get hit with a ton of bricks. People who receive a free lunch end up paying the price.
The Gift of Self-Reliance
The next time you think about giving someone a free pass, don’t do them any favors. While your intent may be good, well-intentioned behavior can have unintended consequences. When you serve someone life on a silver platter or make them totally dependent on you, you weaken their ability to function in the world.
There’s no easy road to success. It takes hard work, determination, and commitment. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. If you really want to do someone a favor, give them a good education, instill strong values, inspire them, and then set them free. Everyone is born with the potential for greatness. Have faith by offering them one of the greatest gifts in life — self-reliance.
Do You Know Someone Who’s Getting a Free Pass?
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Dorothy Butcher says
With COVID running rampant (or so it seems) and having family members struck down with this disease everyday is a challenge. Sometimes I feel like I will just explode. Then Frank Sonnenberg sends me a message to persevere one more day. The articles sometimes are pointed directly at the questions running over and over in my mind. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and reminding me of the guiding principles I have buried deeply and reminding me to get grounded. I only have control of me. Grateful and appreciative for your guidance, DB
Frank Sonnenberg says
You’re very kind, Dorothy. Thank you.
The crux of the problem is that we’ve become entitled. It takes hard work to raise a family, it takes time to invest in your personal growth, and it takes courage to do the right thing. But instead of rising to the occasion, and accepting responsibility for our lives, we expect others to do everything for us. And yet we still expect the rewards that come from leading a noble life.
When people rise to the occasion and take responsibility for all aspects of their life, they succeed based on their own merits. Every day that they make the effort, they build strength; every time that they overcome a challenge, they build determination; and every milestone that they cross builds confidence. The hard work and sacrifice make them better and stronger every day.
If you want to raise kids with strong moral character, strengthen your organization’s culture, or encourage citizens to be productive members of society, don’t look to change their behavior, examine your own. Lead by example.
Thanks for taking the time to write 🙂
OMG I love the truths you share. You’re not sharing fads and what’s trending or quick fixes on how to live, you’re sharing truth in a way that is easy to understand and you write so eloquently.
Frank Sonnenberg says
You’re very kind, Donna. Thanks so much 🙂