Our country was founded on the declaration that all men have certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would like to amend these to include: work, personal initiative, and the pursuit of going the extra mile.
If we’re not working, we cannot experience life. Work is something we do regardless of whether or not we get paid. In fact, our most vital acts are performed free of charge: raising children, bestowing love and forgiveness, volunteerism, and charity. This is what makes the world go ‘round. Working is as necessary to the individual as breathing. When the individual stops working, he stops thinking, and then stops living. My father was born in 1927 and remembers growing up during the Great Depression. His father, like many other Americans, did not have a job, but that did not stop him from working. We are on this planet to work, to give back and share that which is within us.
Personal initiative is the truest manifestation of liberty. The greatest read on personal initiative is found in Elbert Hubbard’s Life-Changing Classic, A Message to Garcia. Those of you who have read it are nodding your heads in agreement. Those of you who haven’t can purchase it for a little over a dollar, it will take you ten minutes to read, and it’s one of the top-selling books of all time. You have the right to not ask your employer how to do everything and to display some personal initiative by figuring it out on your own. You have the right as an employer to encourage your team to read this so that they can understand the infinite power of personal initiative in determining their value and even their salary. It’s the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” philosophy. Don’t ask your boss how to do everything, and don’t tell your employees how to do everything. One of my favorite lines is the man who does things without having to be told draws the most wages. Amen.
The pursuit of happiness requires going the extra mile. Happiness never comes from just doing the minimum. That’s called “getting by” and someday we will all have to answer to life, explaining what we did with what we were given. The status quo has got to go! No child was ever successfully raised by parents who did only the minimum. No marriage ever thrived where two people simply coexisted. No victory was ever achieved without someone, someplace, sometime, stepping out of the mediocre masses and going the extra mile. Some people are like blisters; they show up after the work is done. And there is no joy in being remembered as the bare-minimum guy. We go the extra mile because that is where the human spirit truly excels and finds its only source of happiness.
So claim these inalienable rights for yourself and achieve your true birthright now!