Virtuous Entrepreneurship

by Arlen Meyers

Virtuous Entrepreneurship

The evolution of the cyberintelligence driven economy-the fourth industrial revolution-is forcing everyone, including entrepreneurs, to answer some tough questions:

  1. How to not just create but share the value they create
  2. How to provide people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies they need to succeed and grow into the middle class
  3. When and how to use technology to scale humans, not replace them
  4. How to mitigate the adverse impacts of science/technology on society
  5. How to live a virtuous life of meaning and happiness

In his book, The Human Advantage:The Future of American Work in the Age of Smart Machines, Jay Richards, a PhD in philosophy and religion, provides us with some suggestions.

His answer to the tough questions is human virtue, explaining that a virtue is a good, freely chosen action that is repeated so much and so well that it becomes instinct. Of course, for those of us who actually went to our philosophy classes, leading the virtuous life is nothing new and dates back thousands of years. The contemporary sound bite goes something like doing well by doing good, or, in US medicine for example, practicing compassionate capitalism.

The process starts with discarding the fatalist myth and embracing free will, driving a growth mindset. The good news is that unlike most personality traits, mindsets can be changed.

But, in addition to mindset, the good professor argues that leading the virtuous entrepreneurial life during these times will require:

Courage-the willingness to risk failure

Antifragility-the ability to learn from failure and suffering. These days we call it resilience.

Altruism-acting for the benefit of others, like social enterprise or social entrepreneurship

Collaboration-working with and learning from others

Creative freedom-mastering yourself and the skills needed to create value for others. BEET programs are filling the gaps. Daniel Pink calls it mastery, independence and purpose. The Japanese call it ikigai:

Ikigai

Taking the spiritual approach to entrepreneurship is not just good for your soul. It’s also good for society and your spread sheet. You and your kids should try it on for size.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

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