Independence and Influence
Choice. Agency. Decision. Action. Reaction.
These are all words that we can so easily take for granted not only in how available they are to us, but in the way we pursue them as individuals.
Independence day has become my second-favorite Holiday and I am pretty sure it will surpass Christmas in the next year or two. Why? Summer. Oh, how I love summer, heat, water. Not really - but it helps. I love Independence day because it reminds me of, and ignites in me, the power and influence of freedoms.
About 6 years ago I went on a trip to southeast Asia with my MBA class. Before we went, my professor talked to us about the unspoken things he wanted us to take notice of. He focused on culture and perspective. A request he made that stuck with me was was to take notice of the impressions people will have of us being Americans. He asked us to pursue those impressions with the people we meet and to try to understand them. He said this not just because of Hollywood but our freedom, our economy, our healthcare, sewage systems, running water, the availability of food, healthcare advancements, innovations in technology innovations.
That perspective change that trip for me and, frankly, change my perspective on everything since then. I have such a great appreciation for what it means to be an American but also the number of lenses the world has - and how different those lenses can be. Even better, I have found joy in understanding those lenses and oftentimes letting them have influence over who I am and what I choose to do. After all, it isn’t just acknowledging my own freedoms but constantly allowing myself to be influenced by the freedoms of others. That can work on a large, global scale and even a neighbor-down-the-street scale.
Thus, Independence day is not just about my freedom but also a reminder of the influence I have on the world and the opportunities I create for myself to be influenced by others. There is great beauty in the diversity of the world and how we all adjust to that diversity. The hope is that we do it with an honest and open heart.
Sounds like another Holiday, right? This one is just so much warmer and never requires a snow shovel. At least in the Northern Hemisphere (see what I did there - perspective).
Here is to great stories,