We call ourselves “free enterprise warriors” for a very powerful reason. Not because we are mercenaries or soldiers whose goal is to harm others. Or, that we seek to gain from others losses or at their expense. We are warriors in the classic sense of being guardians and protectors – we stand up for the values of human freedom, individual rights and common justice.
As entrepreneurs we seek to play fair and succeed based on our own skill, production and creativity. We want to achieve our goals because we have the courage to aspire, the willingness to learn and the determination to persist. We are willing to pay the price, make the commitment and do the work.
This is the challenge of launching, growing and sustaining a worthy venture; whether for profit or not. In this age of social entrepreneurs and conscious capitalism, the goal is not always about money. However, the wise uses of money and resources are always a part of the equation – do well and do good.
The reason we call it war is because, at the deepest level of heart, mind and spirit, it is. There are a set of forces that work against the desire to create, to produce and to build. In the natural world of science, these are the forces of entropy – anything left unattended falls apart. Hot becomes cold, structures give way to gravity and life gives in to death.
The opposite of this entropic pressure is the life force– some philosophers call it extropy. It is how things become organized, orderly and functional. It is how new technologies are invented, new products are manufactured, new structures are built, new services are delivered and works of art are created. It is that mystical, magical energy that motivates us, focuses us and empowers us. It is LIFE in capital letters.
As entrepreneurs, that is the battle we fight – to bring order out of chaos, to bring profit out of poverty, to bring competence out of confusion, to create and enhance life. But, we are always challenged to take on and overcome that dark side – the forces of entropy: doubt, denial, distraction, discouragement and defeat. We seek to be optimistic, enthusiastic and confident, but we must learn to overcome the forces of pessimism, lethargy and self-doubt.
Steven Pressfield calls this “the war of art” in his book of the same name. And, he takes that theme even further, with solid and pragmatic strategies, in his recent book Do the Work. I highly recommend both – they are well written, concise and uplifting. They show us how to have the courage to create that which we were meant to create; to overcome resistance; to embrace life: to be free enterprise warriors.