independence day

Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day of the United States of America, the land of opportunities. It’s a national holiday and a great occasion for the people all around the country to get together and celebrate the American spirit, and of course enjoy an extravagant display of fireworks wherever they are. 

It’s my second 4th of July after leaving the US and returning back to India. I miss America a lot and am grateful for all the goodness and growth it offered to me. I enjoyed my stay there, but as I got into Minimalism and Stoicism, I realized that I need to focus on the broader picture. I’m a citizen of the world, a member of humankind. Coming back to India was the only way for me to pursue living my purpose, so I let go of the American dream to execute on my vision. 

There’s still a battle within me as I’m torn between two cultures, my two homes, but then the only thought that brings me solace is that I’m not an Indian or an American (I lived there most of my adult life), but that I’m a human first and foremost. 

We all live in a shared Universe. As Marcus Aurelius wrote to himself, “Frequently consider the connection of all things in the Universe… Reflect upon the multitude of bodily and mental events taking place in the same brief time, simultaneously in every one of us and so you will not be surprised that many more events, or rather all things that come to pass, exist simultaneously in the one and entire unity, which we call the Universe… We should not say ‘I am an Athenian’ or ‘I am a Roman’ but ‘I am a Citizen of the Universe’.”

Nothing unites us more than we face a threat, a catastrophe or a natural calamity. We realize that we need to fight together if we want to win. A great example of this is the following speech from the movie Independence Day given by President Thomas J. Whitmore Addresses to the U.S. Fighter Pilots before they depart to save the planet and the human race (watch here):  

Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.

Mankind — that word should have new meaning for all of us today.

We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore.

We will be united in our common interests.

Perhaps it’s fate that today is the 4th of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution — but from annihilation.

We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist.

And should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:

“We will not go quietly into the night!

We will not vanish without a fight!

We’re going to live on!

We’re going to survive!

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

The reason this speech is so moving and impactful is because it’s a rally cry — a reminder of the mission and vision that the troops are working towards. Leaders across human history have been giving rally cries to get the people together and fight for a common cause. An apt example is the “I Have A Dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. 

A rally cry helps people realign to the higher pursuit — something that is worth fighting for, living for and if necessary even dying for. It inspires and energizes them to fight for the betterment of the humankind and for the greater good.

So, what is your rally cry for your work/business and your family?

Here’s my rally cry for you:

In order to serve people and live our purpose, sometimes we need to sacrifice our individual dreams. 

To be an exception is not easy, it’s a difficult road. 

We need to let go of convenience and comfort, and choose our conviction. 

We live in a day and age where if we choose we can easily make a significant global impact. 

Are you willing to unhook from your storyline and your identity to step up, follow your dreams and work for the greater good? 

Success is a journey, not a destination; what is your journey going to be?

It’s crucial that you have a vision, a mission, a pursuit, otherwise, you sign up for a life of mediocrity, disappointment and dissatisfaction at work and at home. To put a spin on what Proverbs instruct us, “Where there is no vision, the teams and families perish.” 

Like President Whitmore, you need to elevate the fighting spirit and inspiration within your troops, whether it be at work or at home. It should not be about people driving a mission or a vision, rather it should be a compelling mission or a vision driving people. 

You need to find a fight for ourselves. As you zero in on a mission, a vision and a pursuit for your work/business, your family and your life, and galvanize people over and over again via your rally cries, you’ll be able to accomplish mighty achievements by the unified efforts of the people around you, and who knows you may even save the world from a looming threat.

Happy Independence Day!