Badass Wisdom from Our Founding Fathers (quotes)

Never, ever, for the rest of your careers, hire someone who had a GPA of 4.0. Ever. Because the definition of a 4.0 is that this person buys the act; they don’t screw around. Tommy Jefferson, Al Hamilton, and Georgie Washington, they were screwing around. This was a dinky doo-dippy country and they said, let’s go after that George dude. Now that was not smart. If they had 4.0 grade point averages, they would not have started this revolution.

Tom Peters, author of the best-selling book The Search for Excellence

We tend to think of the Founding Fathers as being wise and visionary men; we forget that they were once young guys with crazy and grand ambitions who, through great audacity, relentless execution and a good fortune, were able to build the greatest startup in the world: The United States of America.

Check out some of these bad ass quotes from our Founding Fathers:

George Washington: “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

John Quincy Adams: “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”

Who are your favorite Founding Fathers and what wisdom have you learned from them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and talent expert. He is CEO of a performance hiring platform called Headlight, a Fast Company contributor, and an advocate for Asian American men. Follow him on Twitter at @jasonshen and subscribe to his private newsletter.

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  1. I learned from Benjamin Franklin the importance of play, and maintaining a curiosity about the world.

    For example, as a kid Ben loved playing in the water. He taught himself how to swim at a time when very few people knew how to. He also liked flying kites, and he combined these two hobbies by floating on his back in lakes, letting the kite pull him around the water.

    These hobbies as a kid led him to later discover some pretty profound things as an adult. We all know about the kite experiment in the storm which led him to discover important properties about electricity and static electricity. But he also made other important discoveries, such as the gulf stream. This answered the question why it took a couple of weeks longer to travel from Europe to the Americas.

    Be curious with the world and experiment with it, because great things can come from just playing around!

  2. Two more that I got from a friend:

    “Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike”

    – Alexander Hamilton.

    “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

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