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Citizens of the Land of Opportunity
"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 Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
In a crowded, airless room in the city of Philadelphia 228 years ago this week, a group of men solemnly stepped forward, one by one, and affixed their names to a single sheet of paper -- each man knowing that if they faltered in their collective vision, purpose, commitment, or action, he had just signed his own death warrant. Yet before they were done, a total of 56 men had signed.
They knew what they wanted: They had a dream, a vision, a goal.
They knew why they wanted it: They had a purpose.
They knew the price and were willing to pay it: They were committed.
They had a plan: They took action.
And they set in motion a never before imagined and still imperfect and incomplete chain of events that continues to this day toward the ever-expanding vision of freedom and justice for all.
They triumphed, and yet their ultimate success remains to be realized. Its completion is a legacy handed down through the generations, to us and through us, and on to those who follow.
This week as we celebrate their vision, purpose, commitment, and action (and as we also honor the succeeding generations who have kept the faith and improved on the dream), consider that it is largely because of their vision, purpose, commitment, and action that you are today a citizen of the Land of Opportunity.
You and I are the recipients of many precious gifts bought by others. Whatever our situations and backgrounds, we enjoy a freedom still only dreamed of in many parts of the world.
But in the midst of the familiar words of the Declaration of Independence, there's another phrase that goes mostly unnoticed. Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"[A]ll experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
It's another way of saying that, sadly, most people simply aren't motivated enough to do anything to change the status quo -- even if it's awful, even if they despise it, even if it's slowly killing them. It's another way of saying the "comfort zone" rules.
Because freedom and opportunity are our day-to-day reality, we often take them for granted in a way that people in many parts of the world find astounding, even unthinkable. We keep ourselves ignorant of the true value and meaning of these gifts. And we too often waste them by not clearly seeing how precious they are and ACTING upon that -- by not reaching out and taking hold of the opportunity that surrounds us and is part of the very air we breathe. The opportunity for life itself -- more life, better life, life under no one's thumb.
As citizens of the Land of Opportunity, though, we have a sacred responsibility NOT to waste what's been given to us, bought with the blood and sweat of those who went before and longed for by millions around the world. We have a responsibility to lay hold of that limitless opportunity, burst out of our stifling "comfort zones," and make the most of our freedom -- to be, do, and have all we need for all the life we are capable of living.
We have an obligation to create our own success and the opportunity to help others do the same and to weave ALL our individual successes into the glorious, unfinished tapestry of this country's past, present, and future.
As with the signers of the Declaration and all the heroic men and women who have carried the torch, it all begins with a dream. A vision. A goal.
Just yesterday a very wise person told me, "If you don't have a dream and a goal that you're actively working toward, you are trading your life for nothing."
Think of the signers or of any great achiever in any field of endeavor in any country -- anyone you admire, anyone who is successful. What do they all have in common besides dreams, vision, goals, purpose? They all have something called discipline, a word that immediately frightens or repels many (perhaps most) people because when they see or hear it, they think "punishment," "deprivation."
They resist the notion of self-discipline because they think it constricts them; they prefer no rules, no plans -- just "freedom." Ironically, though, that kind of "freedom" is simply the right to remain in the "comfort zone" where mediocrity is king. And discipline is the key that unlocks those chains.
What discipline really means is simply this: The ability to give yourself a command and then do it -- "to see the job through."
First you need a plan (command), then action (follow-through). To do that, you need something that's bigger than yourself to motivate you -- your dream, vision, goal, and your purpose. True COMMITMENT to those things, then, means taking ACTION consistently, daily: Giving yourself a command and following through. And to follow through is a definition of the word, "succeed."
Without this commitment born of your own innermost desires, dreams and goals remain empty wishes. Vision becomes a pathetic pipedream. And purpose? There is none.
You already have within you everything you need to achieve everything you truly want. You are more powerful than you can imagine. But only you can take the action to set that power -- and yourself -- free.
What do YOU want for your life -- for yourself, your loved ones, your community, country, world? What's your DREAM, VISION, GOAL?
Why do you want those things? What's your PURPOSE?
What price are you willing to pay? Are you COMMITTED?
Do you have a plan? Are you taking ACTION -- DAILY action in following through on your commitment to your own vision and purpose?
We're at the halfway point of the year. We're at the time when we celebrate and commemorate one of the world's great acts of vision, purpose and commitment.
We are at the moment of decision, and you are next in line, facing YOUR choice: Submit to the chains of mediocrity and a lifetime of settling for less than you are capable of being, doing, and having -- or claim your power, break free of the insidious oppression of the "comfort zone," and declare your own independence and right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as YOU define it.
The paper is before you. The pen is in your hand.
Will you sign?
About The Author
Rebecca Fine is the founder of The Science of Getting Rich NETwork where you can download your FREE copy of the amazing 1910 forgotten classic, The Science of Getting Rich.
And find lots more of her articles here:
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