“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.”
The above paragraph from The Declaration of Independence names three “unalienable” rights which all people are endowed with, they are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
These “unalienable” rights are non-negotiable, non-transferable, and imperative to sustaining a free society. Happiness isn’t automatic, we must choose to pursue it.
The framers were passionate about humanity’s basic right as free moral agents to govern their lives as they choose without government interference, provided their choices do not impinge on the rights of others.
Our first responsibility as human beings are to govern ourselves in a manner that provides the greatest good for our families, ourselves and others – This is where leadership begins.
1. Taking Responsibility for Life and Liberty
“Our Thoughts will Govern how we live and make us the Victor or the Victim” – JSP
You alone are responsible for your success because you are in control of your thoughts and actions. It’s true that “we do not see the world as it is but as we are.” People choose to have a success mentality or a victim mentality. Whatever a person believes will influence their behavior.
The Victor has what is called an “internal locus of control,” which means they believe they can think plan and work in a way that produces predictable outcomes in pursuit of their dream.
The Victim has what is called an “external locus of control,” which means they believe that regardless of what they think plan and do, it’s external forces that produce the outcomes in their life.
Michael Jordan is arguably one the greatest basketball players of all time. Did you know he was cut from his varsity basketball team in his sophomore year? He would have never become a leader in the NBA had he possessed a victim mentality, he chose to become a leader in his field. Michael Jordan
The Pursuit of Leadership is Worth the Fight
The Freedom to Lead ourselves and positively influence others is an uphill climb. Dwight D. Eisenhower says, “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”
Regardless of gender, race, religious or political persuasion, the opportunity to pursue our dreams comes with responsibilities and hard work.
2. The Pursuit of Leadership
Unfortunately, a victim mentality causes a person to live under the power of “Why Me?” They tend to live as if the powers that be are working against them. By taking Responsibility for our Life and utilizing the Liberty we have, we become proactive and purpose driven. When we live in the power of our “Why” and follow our passion we realize our dreams.
Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey rose to fame with “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Her show was the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She created the “OWN” network and was at one time world’s only black billionaire.
Did you know she was raped by a relative when she was 9? She was sexually abused on more than one occasion by some family friends. Oprah was pregnant at age 14 and had a son who would die in infancy.
She never stopped dreaming of a better life. She believed she had what it takes to make it happen. She refused to be defined by her past. She had a personal growth plan and followed it. Oprah took personal responsibility for developing her gifts and talents, she possesses an internal locus of control.
Despite what others may say, all people are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey are just two examples of leaders in their field who dreamed of a better Life, exercised their Liberty and chose the pursuit of Happiness.
Enjoy your Independence Day and celebrate Life Liberty and the pursuit of Leadership.
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***