Why I’m Really In The Independence Business

November 6, 2012
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The Declaration of Independence enshrines three basic rights: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The right to life is the fundamental right, from which all other rights are derived. The right to liberty protects the individual’s ability to think and to act on his own judgment. The right to pursue happiness protects the individual’s ability to live for his own sake, to better his or her plight. This was the very definition of independence put forth by the founders of the United States of America.

I can think of no better expression of why I started this company than those words from the founding fathers. I want to be independent. I want to live my life the way that I see fit, I want to exercise my own judgment, and I want to pursue a path that makes me fulfilled and happy.

I want the same thing for our students. Regardless of the obstacles and disabilities that confront them every day, I want them to pursue happiness and enjoy independence.

The Independence Business
A large part of what makes my life so fulfilling is the knowledge that our organization is providing students the knowledge and skills to exercise these basic rights. There is nothing more rewarding than to observe the moment a student “gets it,” that “aha” moment when they begin to believe that they can succeed. When that happens the whole world opens up before them. They are now in the driver’s seat; they alone get to choose between success and failure.

What an intoxicating revelation! No matter what obstacles they face in their lives, they too can choose to pursue happiness and secure their independence.


Mark Claypool is the Founder, President and CEO of ChanceLight Behavioral Health & Education. Claypool recently wrote We’re In This Together.