Have you declared your independence from indifference?
Today, as Americans celebrate the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, many of us repeat the following passage:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Thinking about the “pursuit of Happiness,” I find myself wondering if indifference prevents people from experiencing the happiness of their life’s purpose? This leads me to ask questions like:
- How many of us truly pursue that which makes us happy?
- How many of us have a longing for something greater?
- How many of us envision a path we have not pursued?
- If obstacles were removed would we pursue our dreams?
- Do we limit ourselves with fear and excuses?
Like the character Neo in The Matrix, there are times when we sense something is not right, but we choose the blue pill because we fear the reality of the red pill. Fortunately Neo embraced the unknown, but not everyone makes the same choice.
In his inspiring TED talk, Why we do what we do, Tony Robbins argues that, despite tremendous obstacles, we all possess the power to realize our dreams. Robbins explains that we fail to achieve our dreams not because we lack resources, but because we lack resourcefulness — the emotional ingenuity to achieve our dreams:
Consider the seemingly insurmountable odds America faced when it declared its independence from England. The odds of success were minuscule, but those odds discounted how driven to dream the colonists were. But they weren’t naive either; instead the colonists embraced the philosophy that would later be defined by Jim Collins as the Stockdale Paradox:
“Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties – and at the same time – confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.”
Certainly, we all face limitations, but I encourage you to look to what is, rather than what is not. The past two years have been challenging and rewarding to me personally and professionally, but I continue working on moving forward rather than back.
Reinforcing this philosophy, I recently received a fortune cookie that read “Discover the Power Within Yourself.” As trite as this message sounds, it inspired me. Taking those words to heart I continually re-frame my situation to see it realistically while retaining faith I will prevail in the end.
So, whenever you find yourself encountering adversity, I encourage you to declare your independence from indifference and discover the power within yourself to achieve what you dream!