PREFACE: This is a topic that has been near to my heart for a long time, but the decision to write this came after listening to several episodes of a fantastic podcast that nails this theme over and over. The podcast is called Society and the State by Connor Boyack and Bryan Hyde, who are both extremely intelligent and principled guys that are making a difference in powerful ways. If you skip reading this and just go listen to them by clicking here, you would be in great hands!
I believe that with the more liberty we have the better off the world will be. Liberty is defined differently by different people. For simplicity’s sake and for this article I will define liberty as the freedom to exercise and defend one’s inalienable rights: life, liberty, and property as long as your actions do not violate the rights of others.
A crucial component of liberty is the engagement in the laws of cause and effect and responsibility for one’s own actions. I believe one of the areas in which this is exercised the most is in entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur is an individual who sees a need and makes a calculated risk to fill that need in pursuit of a win-win outcome between two or more parties. An agreement which connects individuals with desired outcomes through products and services in exchange for something the entrepreneur desires as well. (Usually money)
Entrepreneurship is demonstrated in many ways, including starting a home based business, purchasing and running a franchise, starting one’s own business, or even to some extent intrapreneurship, which is treating one’s job as if one has ownership and thereby maximizing one’s engagement and outcomes.
Too often I encounter individuals who profess an intense devotion to the cause of liberty. These individuals tend to voice frustration at the overwhelming expansion of government regulations, nonsensical rules, and the violation of their rights. Overwhelmingly, in my interactions with these individuals I end up disheartened as their contribution to the cause seems to be limited to identifying and whining about the issues that annoy them most.
I often ask, “But what are you doing to change things and make a difference?”
The answer is usually in one of two camps: I don’t know what to do OR I know what to do, but can’t effectively get involved due to limited time, money, and resources.
Nobody is ever inspired by a whiny baby. Whining about how “our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves over this gross violation of our liberties” will not return freedom to our lives. It won’t.
My most frequent response now is to ask the frustrated individual if he would consider entrepreneurship. I believe entrepreneurship is the most effective way to promote the cause of liberty. Here are 5 reasons why I believe this to be true:
Personal Development – A truly successful entrepreneur MUST improve himself. Success has more to do with mindset than the opportunity, economy, or any other external factor. I have witnessed individuals make massive incomes in multilevel marketing companies with gimmicky products and sub par compensation plans. Those limitations didn’t matter, because those individuals obsessively chased success. They had a mindset of a winner.
The business world is full of examples of entrepreneurs whose ideas were massive successes, even though their business professors said they were doomed to failure. (IE: FedEx) If your dream, passion, and commitment are unwavering, you are destined to succeed. The only way I know of to maintain that mindset is through intentional nurturing of the mind and expansion out of old “comfort zones.”
Reading good books, listening to relevant podcasts, audios, and seminars, and associating with other individuals focused on success are essential in this journey. I have studied CEO’s of major corporations, successful freelance writers, internet marketers, business owners in direct sales and mlm’s, and icons in the personal development and coaching field. One thing they have all said is that their journey started with personal growth. Most of them mention books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Greatest Salesman in the World, The Magic of Thinking Big, and so many more as being transformational in their journey to success. And foundational to that success was being able to clearly see the result they wanted and chase down that dream undauntingly.
Success thinking and habits empower us to fix our sights on our personal contribution to the cause of liberty and fortify us against the opposition that inevitably will challenge us as we engage in our quest to make a difference.
Leadership – Note that the success of people in the areas I mentioned previously all depended on their ability to influence others in a positive direction. One cannot have lasting success without developing the ability to rally people to their cause by giving them a sense of purpose, worth, and fulfillment. Learning basic “people skills”, the art of effective communication, how to interact with different personality types, negotiate win-win outcomes, conflict resolution, etc. are key skills of leaders.
To make a real difference we need to shift into a leadership role and get away from the divisive, failing methods often employed by passionate yet ineffective individuals. Stop arguing and start influencing.
An integral part of this transition to leadership is working with a mentor. As we interact with an individual who has the results we want and allow them a place of trust in our life, they can identify blind spots and help us leverage our strengths and overcome our weaknesses. We will also learn how to be that mentor for others. It is through this process of trust that we will gain quantity and quality of people who will help move our cause forward.
Understanding of Economics – I believe that economics is key to understanding liberty. It can be a great unifier. Left or right of the political spectrum doesn’t matter when gas and grocery prices hit an all-time high, causing financial strain on our families. As we learn the forces behind this erosion of our financial well-being we realize that regulations, although often well-intentioned, are often the cause of our struggles. As Frederic Bastiat taught, all actions have effects which are seen or desired, but they all have unseen consequences that actually end up being more powerful in the end.
A study of the principles of economics is actually quite simple and refreshing. Unfortunately economics has been propped up as a complicated, mathematical process better left to the “experts.”
Ironically these experts are the ones clamoring for the very policies that create the boom-bust cycle of business. To clearly see what I’m writing about, watch the YouTube video called “Peter Schiff was right”. It contains news clips of the “experts” back in the mid 2000’s boasting about how the economy had never been better. Schiff, on the other hand, points out that it was a huge bubble caused by inflationary tactics, and that the housing bubble was on the brink of collapse. The crazy thing is after the crash, the news outlets returned to the same fools who couldn’t see the catastrophe coming and instead argued for the very things that caused it, and the newscasters ask these so-called experts for solutions!
As individuals fight to get their business going, they quickly see how many regulations are detrimental to their efforts to succeed. They also learn how to navigate the portions that benefit them, like the tax code being highly preferential to business owners. My wife and I have a home based business that gave us access to thousands of dollars of legal tax deductions last year. This significantly increased the amount of money that stayed in our household.
If you helped someone keep thousands of dollars in their own hand to do with as they pleased, can you imagine how much more trust they might have in you and the ideas you share with them about why their success and yours is important in the promotion of liberty? If they already agree with you about the principles of liberty, then how much more likely are they going to be to either support or create efforts beneficial to the cause.
Options – People tell me often, “I would love to make more of a difference and get involved, but I have to work that day.” or “I can’t afford to donate right now.”
My mentor once asked me what my priorities were. I answered without hesitation: God, family, and country. He then asked me to lay out my week. We each have a weekly budget of time. We all get the same amount of time. He asked me to put a number to each activity that put time. God got single digit quantity of hours; family was a bit better, country a lot worse. Sadly, the majority of my time was allocated to my job that didn’t directly contribute to my priorities and in fact detracted from them often!
When I do go to events and seminars I seem to rub shoulders with two types of people – those without any gainful employment, and therefore no means to make a large-scale difference, and those who have their own businesses and are masters of their own time and resources, who not only can and do donate, but also understand that they can write off many of those donations.
Freedom – This is an extension of #4, but even bigger. Right now the average American family is losing a third of their income to service debt and another third to pay taxes. The remaining third is being devalued at an alarming rate due to inflationary monetary policy like quantitative easing.
More and more individuals are becoming dependent on government programs for their basic needs.
The importance of freedom here is twofold. First, there is an integrity issue with a person accepting or depending on government programs who is yelling at people about the importance of limited government. Secondly, there is fear to lose that “support” if one dissents. It’s like having a job that sucks, but you depend on it. You have a mean, authoritative boss. You want to change things, because the company has potential, but if you speak up you legitimately fear retaliation from your boss. Change the word boss for government, and you get the idea.
I love meeting successful entrepreneurs who have large networks, great positive cash flow, no debt or dependency on government or other institutions, no boss or corporate agenda to dictate what they can or cannot do. They are free to speak their minds and support who, what, when, and where they want to. It’s a beautiful thing, and I believe that if we help get one million people to live this kind of freedom we will correct many of the issues threatening our liberties.
What do you think? What isn’t on my list that should be? What did I get wrong?
I would love your feedback here and on my Facebook page. Thanks for reading!