I hope that everyone had a wonderful Independence Day long weekend!
Last week, pulling together a social media post, I narrowly averted disaster. Instead of posting an image of the Declaration of Independence I almost posted an image of the Constitution.
Taking the opportunity to review both documents, I’m struck by many thoughts. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by how the signers expressed their aspirations, their goals (excerpted below, emphasis added).
“establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility” (Constitution)
“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration)
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” (Declaration)
Let’s examine the last 13 words:
“…as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
I think most of us could agree what Safety means. However, I’m betting we wouldn’t agree on what Happiness means. That’s OK, I think.
Maybe if we have collective Safety we can each pursue our own definition of Happiness.
There, might be the rub, if both professional and personal experience serve me. As individuals, what chance do we have of achieving (let alone sustaining) Happiness if we can’t identify what would make us happy?
When we think seriously about what would make us happy, the next logical actions can be:
- removing what we perceive as obstacles to our happiness
- adding more of what we think will make us happy
- putting in place systems that we’ve designed to enhance
And I’m kind’ve smiling that the founding fathers seemed so hung up on the concept of happiness…that makes me happy.