The Pursuit of Happiness

Stephanie - Spencer, Indiana
Entered on October 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Happiness is the cornerstone of everyone’s lives. Happiness is what pulls us through the tough times and helps us enjoy the good ones. Happiness is what drives us to get up in the morning, and helps us fall asleep at night. Happiness is life. So how can we gain it? We gain it by pursuing it. I believe in the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness is something incredibly important. If a person goes through life without happiness, they might as well not live at all. I know that when I’m not happy, life isn’t worth living. Happiness takes on many forms and comes to us in all shapes and sizes. It can come from people, animals, possessions, accomplishments, and countless other sources.

I have always been fond of this quote from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I have often wondered why this line was not written, “…Life, Liberty and Happiness.” I mainly wonder why the distinction was made. It is obvious that our forefathers intentionally wrote “the pursuit of happiness” rather than just “happiness.” Why was this distinction so important?

I believe that these men knew the truth. They knew that happiness is not something that just comes to a person. It’s not something that shows up at their doorstep, ringing the bell. One thing’s for sure about happiness: if a person sits around waiting for it, they may never gain it.

So what were these men suggesting we do in order to gain happiness? I believe they meant it in the literal sense. I believe we must literally pursue our own happiness. I believe that, by making this distinction, our forefathers were implying that not every man has the unalienable right to happiness, however every man has the right to pursue it.

Our forefather’s were men who personally knew that they had to pursue their own happiness. These were the men who saw what was wrong with their society and saw an opportunity for happiness. By creating this country, they took that opportunity. They pursued their happiness.

Therefore they, of all people, would have good reason to believe the every man has the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness. Every man has the right to work hard to reach his goals, therefore essentially creating his own happiness. Every man has the right to try something new, and see if it brings him joy. Every man has the right to go out there and find something that makes him happy.

I believe in going out there and finding my happiness. I believe that every man, woman, and child has the right to find their true happiness. I believe that it may be a hard road to travel, but I believe it is all worth it. I believe in the pursuit of happiness.