I published this post the last couple of years for the Fourth. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep publishing it for many years to come. Wishing you a great Fourth, and hope you have some time to put aside your work for a bit and enjoy some time with your family. Happy Fourth!
Five things I’m thankful for this Fourth of July:
1. For the great risk and sacrifice our Founding Fathers took to establish the country.
When learning about the Founding Fathers in high school history class I did not have a perspective about the risks the Founders took in establishing the country. Only now that I have a business, a family, and am relatively successful, can I realize the huge risks the Founders took. By all means, they were the establishment, the elite of the American society, and if anyone had an interest in preserving the status quo, it was them. Their sacrifices of life (theirs and their family members) and their fortunes helped build the foundation we benefit from today.
2. The ability to speak freely and practice or not practice any religion I want.
It is great being able to freely speak your mind and believe in whatever you want. It is also great be free to practice (or not) any religion you want. We live in a very tolerant society, and it is even better when the government is not telling you how to live your life. It is important to remember that throughout history, this has been the exception for how a government normally behaves.
3. Our Country’s ability to attract creative people.
People that like creating things and being productive want to practice their trade where the government will basically leave them alone and provide a good environment to protect their gains derived from their hard effort (see item #5 below). The U.S. provides this environment, and that is why so many people come to the U.S. to create a business or to practice their trade. It is also important to recognize how lucky we are to have been born in the U.S.
4. My right to practice any profession and access to unlimited resources to learn the required skills.
No one is dictating what students need to be after they graduate high school or college. Everyone is free to pursue their interest, and the market decides the value of the effort. With basically any information freely available on the Internet, anyone can learn almost any skill, and like no other time in human history individuals have an almost free method to sell their services or products over the Internet. In your mid-40’s and want to make a career change? Perfect, and you don’t even need to go back to school as the information is freely available on the Internet. Didn’t finish college and are 20 years old with an idea? Perfect. Venture capitalists don’t care about your pedigree, they are only interested if you work hard and don’t give up.
5. Our legal system.
Yes, it sounds trite. But while I don’t think our legal system is perfect by any means, it is the best system established in the history of mankind. Everyone living in the U.S. presently is very lucky to have this benefit. It is a foundation for many of the items I mentioned above. Because people have a good basis for predicting the outcomes of their actions, such as being able to retain property legally obtained, and knowing if someone breaches a contract there will be repercussions, it creates an environment that attracts hard effort and the best talent from around the world. This is why the U.S. has been the leader in ideas and new businesses. However, just because the system is established it does not mean our work is done. We have to be vigilant not to lose the fairness, reasonableness, and lack of corruption in the legal system.
Happy Fourth of July. I’m off to the neighborhood parade.