Freedom To Strive After Our Potential

July 3, 2016

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor defines happiness as “the joy we feel striving after our potential.”

Two-hundred and forty years ago, 56 men signed a document that began, “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entltle [sic] them.” They went on not only to pledge, but to give,their lives and their sacred honor in pursuit of this dream.


I’m fortunate to live in a world informed by the United States Declaration of Independence. Many great people paid the price to maintain our independence, and to make it relevant in the world. Many free people groups can credit some degree of their freedom to the people who created and stood by that document. The US is not perfect and not without error. But today we celebrate the price paid by those who determined it was necessary “to alter their former Systems of Government.” They asserted “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.” They even went on to state their idea that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I am also grateful for the men and women who sacrificed part or all of their lives to keep this nation free. Thank you.

The “united States of America” as titled in the document declared their independence so we could strive for our potential as an equal, free people. They created and we have continued to live under a government created of, by and for people. Again, not perfect, but powerful in conception. Democracy is loaded with potential as we have seen by the progress of the United States in the last 240 years.

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 November, 1947

What is your potential? Have you experienced the joy of striving after it? Most of us are off work today so we can celebrate. Does your work propel you toward your potential? If not, why not? What compromise have you made to forego your potential?

Webster suggests the origin of the word potential comes from the Latin for power, potent. Potential is power, possibility, or what could be. Our happiness comes from pursuing our best, or as Achor said elsewhere, from activating our potential.

What could be, for you? What do you need to declare independence from today so you can be free to strive after your potential? Comment below and share this post. Let’s go public with our independence today and strive after our potential. What are you waiting for? Our world needs your best you. Go for it!

Photo © Mike Flippo