Factoid: In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson famously wrote about “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
Notice how he didn’t say, “the pursuit of pleasure”.
“Pleasure”, as in food, drink, sex, eating bonbons, partying in Miami, whatever.
He meant something else.
His thinking was informed by a very influential early Eighteenth Century Scotch-Irish philosopher, Frances Hutcheson.
Hutcheson had this idea that the reason we were moral creatures, that we were able to act virtuously, was simply because we were hard-wired to do so.
That doing good was our greatest source of happiness.
Whether we were making a child smile, helping out a tourist with directions, or helping an unemployed friend out with the rent, doing something for others is what really made us truly, meaningfully, and sustainably happy at a biological level.
And this is what Jefferson was really talking about.
What makes this country great, I think, is not what it gives us (which is considerable), but what it allows us to give to others.
When we talk about American enterprise, this is what we mean. When we talk about “building something”, that is what we’re really after. The opportunity to be a net positive on this Earth. A producer of something meaningful and lasting, not just a passive consumer of bread and circuses.
That is the real American Dream. Lest we forget.
The Culture Club
This week we launched The Culture Club on LinkedIn.
We are bringing together a community of leaders and people that are focused on culture and human-centered change. The vision for The Culture Club is to have a multi-disciplined community, passionate about culture who will share their stories, experiences, and practices, about culture. What works, and what doesn’t, so we have a community where people from all areas of work, not just human resources, can share ideas and learn how others are designing their cultures.