David Kelley wrote a great piece for the Atlas Society entitled Life: Your Adventure in Entrepreneurship. It deals mainly with how we all have the responsible to a entrepreneurial life. Not meaning that we all need to own our own businesses, but own our own lives.
He makes great points about the necessity to take responsibility for everything in our lives- our values and decisions. This means reasoning with every aspect of our lives instead of accepting the status quo. We are not being responsible- and cannot be truly happy- unless we know why we do what we do.
I definitely need to reread the article… but here are some excerpts/notes.
-(Opening Paragraph) The entrepreneurial spirit is the spirit of enterprise: ambition to succeed, initiative in taking action, alertness to opportunity. It means being proactive rather than reacting to events and opportunities as they come along. It involves a full acceptance of the responsibility for initiating action to achieve one’s goals, and for dealing with the consequences that arise as one does so. [Accepting responsibility for everything you do is, to me, key. This is what allows you to really consider yourself and your life as an achievement]
-Taking full responsibility in action, as an adult, means dealing directly with reality, not through any intermediary.
-Ayn Rand had an eloquent way of expressing the relationship between happiness and reason. Happiness, she said, is a state of non-contradictory joy. Joy is the emotional content, but reason is our means of eliminating internal conflicts among the sources of joy: contradictions between one goal and another, contradictions between the short-term and the long-term, contradictions between our desires and the facts of reality, including the facts about our needs. We cannot achieve a state of non-contradictory joy if we are torn apart by conflicting desires, or if we wish for things that contradict the facts of reality. [Finding a long term goal you can find joy in seems to be something a lot of people struggle with, the article doesn’t provide much guidance here…]
-Adherents of the conventional view of morality often claim that we have to choose between subjective whim and compliance with social custom and tradition. In fact, these are two forms of cognitive irresponsibility. Subjectivists, who act on impulse, ignoring ethical standards or even demanding liberation from them, are abandoning the essential function of reason: to grasp reality. But traditionalists who conform to social rules because they are the rules are abandoning the task of grasping reality. Without adopting a first-hand approach, how can one be sure that the things he has been taught to believe are really consistent with the facts, or with his happiness? And if a person believes what he does because he accepts some authority, how can anyone else be sure that he won’t switch tomorrow to another authority?
-(Closing Statement) Choosing our goals and pursuing them independently, with pride of ownership in ourselves and reliance on reason—these entrepreneurial virtues apply at any time but are especially important today. In our personal lives, it is only these virtues that can help us navigate through the roiling waters of a bad economy. In our political lives, we cannot defend our rights without defending their moral basis. We will never halt the expansion of government or preserve our freedom without demonstrating—in words and by our example—that the entrepreneurial way of life is the human way.