Once upon a time, a guy wrote a book about a crazy idea. This book was so popular that to this day, it is the best selling, most circulated book in American history. Before writing the book, the man had failed at many business endeavors. But with this book, he had found his calling. He had lit a spark. His name was Thomas Paine. The book was Common Sense, the impetus to wide spread support for the American Revolution.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid of failing. It has a purpose. Failing takes you exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Around the same time, a group of friends and colleagues came together to support the book’s crazy idea. They were farmers, lawyers, inventors, writers, and entrepreneurs. They were fearless. They were unstoppable. They were our Founding Fathers.
The idea of declaring independence from a government as powerful as England was outrageous and crazy. But the Founding Fathers didn’t think so. They had laser sharp focus. They believed so fiercely in their convictions that failure wasn’t even on the table. They saw nothing but victory.
Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid of a crazy, powerful idea. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is out of reach. See only victory for yourself.
The Founding Fathers leaned on each other. Called on each other. Fought with each other and for each other. They bounced ideas off each other. They collaborated. They stepped up. They protected each other. Benjamin Franklin is known to have said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Lesson Learned: Hang with awesome people who aren’t afraid to live big. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Your network is your net worth.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends. They strategized together and wrote together. They gave birth to our country together. When Adams became our second president, Jefferson was his vice-president.
All was well until they realized how fiercely they disagreed about how our government should be run. Fundamental differences between big government and small government drove a wedge between the men. Jefferson quit and ran against his once dear friend.
Jefferson went on to become our third president and served two terms. After Jefferson’s presidency, Adams reached out to him. Even though they never saw each other again, the two went on to write long, heartfelt, intellectual letters to one other over the next fifteen years.
On July 4, 1826, Adams died. One of the last things he said is, “Jefferson still survives.” Adams was wrong. Jefferson had died five hours earlier.
Lesson Learned: Friendship is a messy, messy business. For as passionate as we are in harmony, we can be just as passionate in discord. Disagree if you must. Respect each other always. Just as we are brought together in life, we are brought together again in death.
May you relish your freedom today and every day. It was a hard fought battle won by our fearless Fathers. Happy 4th of July!