I typically read the Declaration of Independence to our family each year on the Fourth of July, and every time, I’m re-struck by the decency and rational tone of the document.
It reflects the dignity and intelligence on which our nation is founded (taking note of that could do our public discussion a lot of good these days).
I realize that a work as momentous as our founding document deserves more reverence than a self-help book and that it wasn't intended to instruct about our personal lives. Yet it does provide a valuable model for how to think when you want to change your circumstances in order to make a better life yourself.
Philosophy Made Practical
Signers of the Declaration understood the gravity of their announcement. It was monumental to establish a new nation by separating from the world's then superpower, and the colonial representatives moved forward with purpose.
The Declaration speaks of an underlying philosophy of life (all men are endowed by their Creator . . .), but it is not a philosophical treatise, per se. Rather, the document recounts a list of practical reasons why the colonists shouldn’t continue doing life as they had in the past.
They had good reasons to separate from England.
Eighteen statements describe how “he [the king] has” undermined life in America. One pronouncement even includes an additional nine items of grievance. Altogether, the points show evidence for why a reasonable person would conclude that separating from Great Britain was warranted.
Put Your Reasons in Charge
We live in a culture that is not as well disposed to rational argument, and even though we can do little about the culture at large, we can each manage our personal lives reasonably.
Doing Different is a serious undertaking, so I never advocate “change for change’ sake.”
I chose DifferentOnPurpose as my URL to encourage this:
If you want to go after a Different life, do it for good reasons.
You should have a solid rationale . . .
. . . for ditching your 9 to 5 job,
. . . for having a large family,
. . . for moving from the city to the country
. . . or country to the city,
. . . for taking your kids out of traditional school,
. . . for living in a van,
. . . for pursuing a serious faith.
You need some good why’s like these:
You value a more intimate family life.
You desire to build wealth beyond what a typical job offers.
You’re convinced that you, as a parent, are your child’s best guide and teacher.
You recognize that God loves you and wants to partner in life with you.
You realize that where you live affects what you truly want out of life.
If you haven’t done it before, write down the reasons you want to make changes to pursue the best life for you. And even if you’ve done it before, a refresher write-up might be in order, because:
Declaring the reasons for what you choose
builds confidence for doing what you do and
puts you on a path you can believe in.
Some of my previous blog posts may help you think through reasons for Different:
Lifestyle and Spirituality—“Sometimes ‘Traditional’ Is the Best Different Thing You Can Do” and “Discover the Different That’s Best for You”
Business and Education—“Seeing What Others Miss: Discovering Different Right Under Your Nose” and “Get Over Your Education”
And if you just want something good to read for the Fourth of July, check this one out: “What Makes Americans Different, Together?”
(To get weekly ideas and action steps for doing Different, subscribe to this blog—
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