“What can it profit a man to think if he does not dare to?” ~ Henry Hazlitt
Henry Hazlitt is one of my favourite clear thinkers. The Way to Willpower is a straight talking guide to personal motivation (not my favourite genre by a long stretch, but somehow Hazlitt makes even self improvement bearable).
The book’s main thesis is that if we respect ourselves we will stick to our own internal commitments and promises, even if no one knows we made them. In other words, we need to be accountable to ourselves and responsible for our own lives. It’s hard to argue with that. If course, it is hard to live up to those internal ideals too.
Still, the price of freedom of choice, thought, word and deed – responsibility – is worth paying. The alternative is frightening.
Freedom is not freedom from responsibly; freedom is willingly taking on responsibility – and all the risks and rewards that come with it.
Hazlitt understood this, as a man and as an economist. We have to re-tie choice with consequence and reward with responsibility if we want better outcomes for our own lives and for our societies.