Trump Aftermath: a Bit of Harry Browne Wisdom!

Harry Browne

On this morning the day after the US elections, people are either angry or ecstatic about the results.

I’m tempted to quote from Harry Browne’s book “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.

In a chapter titled “The Utopia Trap,” he writes:

“The utopia trap is the belief that you must create better conditions in society before you can be free.

It’s easy to feel that society needs an overhaul (major or minor) before you’ll be able to live freely. As a result, you can devote a great deal of effort to attempts to make others understand what you see, to the passing of laws, to a quest for a better society.

While you’re doing this, you obviously give up a great deal of time and other resources that could have been used to enjoy life. But it’s assumed that once the proper overhaul of society is completed, you’ll be able to live more freely.

There are two basic reasons why I don’t get involved in the quest to change society: (1) it’s an indirect alternative, and so it’s a much harder, more permanent job than most people realize; and (2) it isn’t necessary. An individual doesn’t need to live in a free society in order to free himself— and when he tries to change the world, he’s in for a lot more trouble than he may have bargained for.”

He then writes:

“The world-changers are powerless. They dream of remaking the world; but they can’t, and so they’ve placed their emphasis where they have no power at all.
Free men recognize that they can’t change the world, and so they concentrate on the power they do have — which is enormous. They realize that they can choose not to be involved in situations that don’t suit them.
So they look for those situations that do suit them. And they discover far more opportunities for such situations than most people imagine exist.
A free person doesn’t try to remake the world or his friends or his family. He merely appraises every situation by the simple standard: is this what I want for myself? If it isn’t, he looks elsewhere. If it is, he relaxes and enjoys it— without the problems most people take for granted.
A free man uses his tremendous power of choice to make a comfortable life for himself.
The power of choice. You have it. But you forfeit it when you imagine that you can choose for others. You can’t.
But you can choose for yourself —from hundreds of exciting, happiness-producing alternatives.
Why not use that power?”

My Thoughts

I think you have to get the essence of what Harry Browne writes rather than trying to analyze the details. Of course, I don’t believe that politics don’t matter and that no one should ever attempt to remake society for the better. If that were the case, we’d still be living in the dark ages!

What I’m getting is this: you can spend a lot of time and mental energy thinking about what politicians will or will not do to improve or worsen your situation. You can worry about what’s going to happen next.

Or you can simply accept that the world moves on according to forces you can’t entirely control. But one thing you can control are the decisions you make in your life.

What will happen over the next four years under Trump’s presidency is one thing, and you have little to almost no influence over it.

But what happens in your life over the next four years is in many ways up to you.

Where do you want to be with your finances?

What dreams are you going to pursue?

How much time are you going to spend on Facebook, the mass media, Netflix and other distractions instead of working on yourself, get fit, and work on a project that fulfills you?

Are you going to put off your dream of starting your own business doing something you love? Or are you finally going to do it?

Forget for a moment the world of politics. Turn off CNN. Log off from Facebook. Think about where you want to be in four years. And work to make it happen. This is something you can do. Why not use that power?