Sometimes quitting my job to travel and learn to develop iOS apps feels like it was a radical decision. Sometimes it feels bull-headed and stubborn. When traveling in poor countries, I feel spoiled and ungrateful for what I had.
Then occasionally I find something that gives me a foundation, an excerpt from a book or speech, words that validate trying and failing and continuing on anyway.
I think this mentality is alive, but no longer preserved. Some Americans continue to take risks, to break from the herd and try new ideas, and to speak their minds.
I want to take the calculated risk.
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence.
These people voluntarily choose to struggle but they do it in spite of a government that, every year, increasingly coddles its citizens. Each year more people vote to “trade freedom for beneficence” and their “dignity for a handout“. Fifty years ago Bernie Sanders would have been laughed out of a room. Today he’s a serious democratic contender.
No, innovation isn’t dead, far from it. But entrepreneurs do what they do in spite of a government that creates more regulations that wall off entrepreneurship. You need expensive permits for this and commercial grade equipment for that. You need to provide this kind of workplace, these benefits, and this wage.
So if you’re reading this, take the risk. Forfeit the steady paycheck. Dream and build. You are not common but you are not alone. You are among the many that give America an image of ambition and competence. You are in the good company of a rare type of dreamers, those who dare to build.
I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon … if I can.
I seek opportunity … not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
Humbled and dulled by having the State look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk,
To dream and to build. To fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence;
The thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence
Nor my dignity for a handout
I will never cower before any master
Nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid;
To think and act for myself,
To enjoy the benefit of my creations
And to face the world boldly and say:
This, with God’s help, I have done.
All this is what it means to be American