Economic Development:

The Answer is Reigniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

In 1901 nearly 90% of our society was self-employed; our ancestors worked hard, taking pride in their success and families. They also took responsibility for their own circumstances. Today, the government employs almost 40% of the work force.

This past century has brought us exponential advances in manufacturing, transportation (automobile, airplane and space), technology and communications; but, it also brought us a depression, a couple of World Wars, and two major attacks on our country. Interestingly, we have chosen to focus on the latter and become a society dominated by fear.

Real economic recovery will only happen with a healthy entrepreneurial spirit. I am not talking about born entrepreneurs; they are rare individuals, easy to identify, and unstoppable even by our ever expanding government. It is the “spirit” of the entrepreneur that is being lost as people continue to look for someone else to take care of them instead of accepting responsibility for their own circumstances.

The entrepreneurial spirit can be learned, or better yet, reignited in everyone. Our government, institutions and agencies all need to embrace these values to help inspire the spirit that built our country and will sustain it in the future.

Value 1: Everything is up to YOU but nothing is ever about YOU. This is sometimes hard to understand in a world of self idolization. The entrepreneurial spirit understands the personal work ethic it takes to get a job done, but never does the job simply for personal recognition. Accountability is essential for you to break the mental bondage of the economic recession. Stop looking for a bailout. Look into the mirror everyday and develop a level of self-awareness and personal accountability. Ultimately you are accountable for every response to every situation and circumstance in your life. Our lives are a sum total of our decisions made along the way. That might be a tough pill to swallow, but the day you face this music will be the start of your own personal recovery.

Value 2: You must set goals in order to know where you are going. You need a target to aim for or you will move through life aimlessly and end up somewhere but not real sure where or even how or why you got there. Think about how much time you put into planning your vacation – what if you put half that amount of effort into your life? Ask yourself, “How long is it okay for your child to stay in the third grade?” One, two, three, or four years – our educational system does an excellent job of establishing goals: clear and specific with measurable and obtainable results. But this is one lessen we don’t seem to get. What works as a child will work as an adult also.

Value 3: Quitting is not an option. Failure is a fact of life that we all experience at one time or another. The struggle is too many people stay down after a failure. Perseverance is an attribute that the entrepreneurial spirit demands. It calls for strength to remain consistent during good and bad times – you will succeed if you persevere. Fundamentally, life is change. Anything that is living will change; therefore, you must love change and everything that comes with it on a daily basis. The born entrepreneur enjoys the adventure film called life. As society tries to create sameness and conformity life continues to rebel because living things defy conformity, they are meant to be unique.

Value 4: Discipline in doing the little things everyday that will accumulate to make the big things happen. The basic principles of life must be practiced everyday. There is no such thing as a Lotto life – it is a fantasy. What you do not earn you will not keep. Learn to accumulate by paying yourself first – 10% of everything you earn should be put away in a fund to never be touched. Just imagine if you had a stash of money that represented 10% of everything you had earned over a lifetime.

Value 5: You’ve got to believe in your future. The definition of faith and fear is exactly the same: they are the unseen things in your future. The difference is one is positive, the other is negative. The decision you make about how you view your future will determine your future. Turn off negative input, including TV and newspapers. Sources that want to bombard you with negativity need to be removed from your life and this includes negative people.

The “entrepreneurial spirit” is summed up so well in the often quoted statement from the great Henry Ford: “If you believe you can or can’t, you are right.”

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