Debunking the American myth: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
I was recently listening to a podcast about these exact words, the “pursuit of happiness.” When something dawned on me! The Declaration of Independence has given you the freedom to pursue happiness not yet reached. Which means that they assumed you are still in the pursuit of happiness.
I know, you probably treat the Declaration of Independence like it is Gospel. But here is my question, in the picture below of the lion pursuing the zebra, does the lion have the zebra? In this picture the answer is “no” he is pursuing after the zebra.
Pursuing happiness is when you do NOT have happiness. You are in a state of pursuit! I don’t have happiness, therefore, I’m pursuing after what will bring me happiness. You have the right to chase after the ideal called “the pursuit of happiness”.
What is an ideal? “i·de·al – existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.”
You are guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence the right to “pursue happiness”. And you will always pursue happiness and never be happy if you do NOT measure what brings you happiness.
What brings you true joy and happiness? How are you measuring happiness?
The lion has every right to pursue the zebra but the lion does not eat reality until the zebra is caught.
How does the lion measure reality? He catches that ONE zebra. He has one goal, eat the zebra. The lion probably lays in the tall savannah grass fantasizing about catching and eating that delicious zebra but he either eats or he does not eat the zebra.
The same is true in your life and mine. We can only measure our real numeric goals! We can not measure the “pursuit of happiness”.
Am I happy? Ok, what makes me happy? Can I now set those as numeric goals? If yes, then that is perfect because you can now measure those quantifiable goals.
What happens when we can measure what makes us happy? We expand our happiness to others because we have confidence that happiness can be achieved through realizing that our goals can be measured.
“I will be happier by losing 20 lbs.” I’ve lost 10 lbs this month! Great, I’m achieving my quantifiable goal. Will losing 20 lbs make me happy? That is best answered by your worldview by writing out the “I will – My – Thine” journal.
We can expand our happiness as we help others “achieve happiness” by setting clearly defined quantifiable goals that are measured and based on their worldview.
Yikes – maybe it should read, “life, liberty and the expansion of happiness.”