I recently listened to an interview of a business consultant who said that he blames Thomas Jefferson for many of the problems in the United States, because Jefferson was the one who came up with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The consultant said that he had no problem with the life and liberty part of the phrase, but that Jefferson’s use of the words “pursuit of happiness” was a mistake.
Over the years, I’ve periodically been accused by various family members, friends, employees, colleagues, and individuals who read my weekly articles that I am sometimes too blunt and harsh. I admit that this type of behavior is purposeful and intentional. One of the reasons that I behave in this way is because I initially learned it from the three men who had the most influence on me while I was growing up: my dad, Carl Williams, my grandfather, Tom Williams, and my uncle, Bill Williams.
During the 1980s, I purchased several sets of cassette tapes of talks that had been given by the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. At the time, I had a small battery-operated cassette tape player that I used to listen to tapes while I was shaving and getting ready for work, while I was driving, and while I was getting ready for bed.
My wife and I were married in June 1980, which was a month after I finished my first year in law school. One of the weekly television shows that we watched together during the first year of our marriage was the prime-time soap opera, Dallas. We’ve come a long way since then. Today, there’s no way we would waste our time on that type of show.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of willingly choosing to accept less freedom in order to become something greater than what we already are. When we choose to consistently give up certain freedoms, we become much more responsible, and we are eventually able to achieve more than we would have ever thought was possible. This is a critical concept that must be understood and practiced by those of us who are serious about becoming what God intended us to be.
Last week I wrote about the first step that a person needs to take to begin the process of overcoming his or her limitations, faults, and fears. That first step is to work daily at overcoming pride. None of us can completely eliminate pride. It will always be with us. But if we focus daily on replacing our pride with humility, we will eventually be able to minimize the impact that pride has our thinking, behavior, and reaction to others.
If you’re like me, you can probably only name a few of your teachers and coaches from grade school and high school who had a significant impact on your life. That’s not very many people considering the fact that you spent 12 years in school and only a handful of teachers and coaches made a dramatic difference in your life.