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Thomas Paine: 18-Century Thoughts on The Entrepreneurial Dream

“I do not choose to be a common person.

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 or 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.

I enjoy the benefits of my creations and face the world boldly and say, this I have done.”

All this is what it means to be an entrepreneur.

—Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Overheard: “We won’t last forever. That’s why we should build something that will.”

If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, and would like to build a company that can last 100 years or more, you should check out World Class Business and the World Class Business Institute.

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