Sequestered in an upstairs parlor at 7th and Market Street in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson put quill to parchment and began to draft the Declaration of Independence. The week had been steamy hot, and as the humidity increased, its suffocating tentacles surrounded one of the Founding Fathers – the gentleman from Virginia.
Jefferson embodied brilliance. He had an extensive library reflected in his disparate interests which ranged from winemaking to Greek and Roman history. As he began to write, he couldn’t pull from his reference books – there were none in that room. Just his thoughts, and that was all he would need. He wanted to maintain a purity of message.
His objective was to be original and to “place before mankind the common sense of the subject.” Originality garners attention because it’s different, but it makes a difference when it generates value. What was produced with the small alterations of the other Founding Fathers was probably the most significant part of the Declaration:
“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.”
Your obligation in life is to live your life, as far removed from the limits of your fears as possible. It takes resolve to lead your life, it demands courage to live it. I mean live YOUR life, not someone else’s idea of what your life should be – that would be existence by proxy.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable rights that we each have an obligation to pursue. Happiness comes at a cost – the conditions that foster it are the product of vision, sacrifice, resolve and continued improvement.
I am writing to the person who is determined to create a better way – who takes personal responsibility for finding or making their way – who is prepared to do the internal work to move forward in spite of fear. Those people who are ready for the quest that is emergence to a life lived without regret.
Those who emerge and live life must first learn to lead their life. They will find that liberty is freedom, and freedom involves choice, and the courage to act upon those choices. Happiness
ensues when you pursue your freedom with self-responsibility, the best-informed choice and the willingness to extend beyond your known comfort. You must transcend what you think is certainty and risk to gain the reward.
Engaging with people who are passionate inspires the passion in those who hold this often- elusive ineffable gift as precious. The discourse is often an indelible experience. Passion is found in the pursuit of that which embodies the quality of a person’s life. The quality of life, in part, is about the pursuit of one’s passions, the enjoyment of the process, and the ability to cherish the reward. If we are to live a life of meaning, we must limit our attempts to define the meaning of life and choose to live life.
To merely exist in a world of comfort and caution is like living by proxy. It is like assigning responsibility for your life to another person or surrendering to the whims and caprice of society at large. You will watch your life go by if you abrogate your right and obligation to live. If you are to live, live passionately.
Invest and immerse yourself in the process of life. If you walk up to the pool and dip your toes in but never take the plunge, you will never learn to swim. Will you choose to dive in headfirst, immersed and invested? Learn how to swim. We must extend the effort and attempt to share the knowledge with those who will give back and contribute. When we share the collage of experience and encourage the beginning or continuation of a quest for improvement, we can provide for the betterment of the whole.
You (and I) are here for a relatively short time. Live with no regrets. Engage with your foot pressing the proverbial pedal to the metal, with your tongue sensitive to the honeyed drops of rain. Listen with your ears deaf to dissension and your spirit untarnished by jealousy’s disease. Know when to use your heart to hear, your mind to drive, and your visceral instincts to steer.
Capture each moment by allowing your eyes to become portals to your soul. Live life; savor it as the finest nectar. Overcome the fear and have the will to engage, summoning the wisdom to know when and with whom you choose to associate.
ABOUT BILL WOODITCH. After spending a year at a dead-end job with a foreclosed future, Bill Wooditch created his renowned “Always Forward” mindset and forged his way from the impoverished backwoods of western Pennsylvania to create a multi-million-dollar company, which he continues to lead today.
He is the author of “Always Forward” and “Fail More,” a Wall Street Journal bestseller. The hard-won lessons he shares in his books and keynotes are designed to shorten the distance between where you are now and where you are determined to go in the future. Find him at billwooditch.com.