Vivid Views is my series of articles, blog posts and press releases show-casing my work as an author and reflecting my many years in business and self-employment. They are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.
My hope is that in them you find enlightenment and inspiration. 'The Heart Of An Entrepreneur' is the 24th in the series.
When I decided to become self-employed and set up my own business, I did not ask anyone's permission to do so. Why would I? Any such need would defeat the whole point of doing things for myself. Anyway, who would I ask? Family, friends? … they'd only say, “Don't do it,” … or government? - heck no, they'd tie me down with endless red tape and regulations. No, I just went 'out there' and got on with it. I neither asked for nor expected assistance. I knew that I had to accept responsibilty for my own actions, my success or my failure. Such self belief lies at the heart of an entrepreneur.
Part of that belief is that those not involved in the enterprise should mind their own affairs. Well-intentioned outsiders are the opposite of helpful and governments should leave people and their businesses alone - unless they are doing direct harm to others. I believe in personal and business freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of action. I believe in a free market economy. All of these of course add up to accepting and enacting responsibily for my own thoughts and actions – nothing comes free in that respect.
This is where those in society who constantly clamour to 'demand their rights' fall down because those who shout that mantra loudest are regularly the same ones unwilling to accept the responsibilities that go with the rights. Far from exercising freedom of choice, such individuals often expect someone else to shoulder their responsibilities and, tellingly, to pay for them. Nanny state politicians are only too keen to oblige. They 'buy out' the people's responsibilities with free hand outs in the form of welfare and other tax-payer funded benefits which pulls the recipients into their web, under their influence and imprisons them there. Such compulsion does not enhance individual responsibility – it diminishes it.
In common with all coercive policies, compulsory diktat devalues the independence of the mature citizen. Forced redistribution of wealth does not work. Taking wealth from those who know how to create it and use it and giving it to those who only know how to consume it does not fix society's inequalities. Ultimately, the consequence is less social cooperation and less compliance. This severely hampers and does nothing to enhance society in general. It only hurts everyone in the end.
So what of entrepreneurs? What of me? I trust myself to behave responsibly. I start by doing those things necessary to survive, then I do what's possible to further my cause. Then, almost magically, I find myself achieving the impossible. I spend only what I can afford and anything I don't have the money for, I do without or until I have created the wealth to support it. I am highly competitive and often ruthless in pursuing my goals. Yet I am not indifferent to the needs of others. At the heart of most entrepreneurs there beats a generous pulse. There is a simple explanation for this apparent contradiction.
The fact is that, however determined and committed to success I am, my very adventurism inevitably means that I encounter difficulties and failed efforts along the way. At moments of hardship I have found myself brought back from the edge, revived and restored by improbable allies - friends and colleagues oft neglected, angels of mercy, mysterious strangers and the simple hand of friendship proffered by well-wishers.
It is perfectly consistant therefore that I, and those like me, empathise with those we encounter who are struggling to get by. My generosity though is not blind, it is selective. Other than donating material relief in desperate situations, I'm inclined to help only those prepared to help themselves. A case of like helping like so that all can thrive. The 'help others to help themselves to help you' philosophy is central to how successful entrepreneurs work on a daily basis. It underpins how society prospers. It lies at the heart of an entrepreneur.
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
My latest novel is 'Too Early For A Glass Of Wine?' Claim your copy by clicking on the image below.
THE HEART OF AN ENTRPRENEUR is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
I hope you enjoyed this Vivid View and found it to be of value.
To learn more please visit me on my Author Page.
See you there! Regards, Tom.