America’s Great Unsung Hero

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Robert Ringer Comments (32)

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Heroes are people who accomplish extraordinary feats under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, such as the firefighters who marched into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 in an attempt to save lives while everyone else was scurrying to get out.

But there’s another kind of hero — one who makes a living accomplishing extraordinary feats under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, day in and day out.  The hero I’m referring to is the individualist known as an “entrepreneur.”

In our current age of envy, the entrepreneur is perhaps the most misunderstood, underappreciated, and reviled human being on earth.  He represents everything that thug-infested groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter hate.  The truth is that the entrepreneur is not the greedy, win-at-all costs monster that haters like to portray him as.

On the contrary, it is the entrepreneur who is the primary driver of a healthy economy, not only by creating products and services but, in the process, jobs.  And through the invisible hand of the marketplace, he improves the lives of people (sometimes millions of people) whom he will never even meet.

It should not be surprising, then, that many of our Founding Fathers were entrepreneurs, perhaps the two most famous examples being George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  They are also good examples of just how far apart the results of individual entrepreneurs can be.

Though they were both farmers, Washington was one of the richest men in America, while Jefferson struggled financially throughout his life and died broke.  But Jefferson’s financial difficulties never dampened his enthusiasm for entrepreneurial pursuits, which resulted in the building of his beloved Monticello estate and the founding of one of America’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, the University of Virginia.

It’s important to understand that there are no guarantees for the entrepreneur.  On the contrary, he labors long, hard hours without the luxury of a safety net.  Either he gets results or he starves.  And that’s what makes the entrepreneur unique — his willingness to shove all his chips to the center of the table and bet everything he owns on the farm, literally.

Plain and simple, the entrepreneur is a risk-taker who is willing to risk losing everything if he fails.  By everything, I’m not just referring to his savings, stocks, collectibles, and even his kids’ college education funds.  I’m talking about his house, his furniture, his cars — everything he owns.  Not to mention his credit, his self-esteem, and, all too often, his “friends.”

The willingness to risk everything is just part of the price the entrepreneur pays for having a big upside potential.  He fully understands that if he fails, he will get hurt — often badly.  One of the things that makes the entrepreneur heroic, then, is that he is not afraid to risk failure — and perhaps look foolish in the process.

Those who look their noses down on entrepreneurs who have failed have no understanding of how treacherous the road to success can be.  When things go south on the entrepreneur, his employees have the luxury of moving on to another job, while he is left behind to face his creditors.  And that can get pretty ugly.

But those who are in the risk-taking arena day in and day out know that going broke is nothing to be ashamed of.  In fact, Silicon Valley wouldn’t be what it is today if young dot-com entrepreneurs didn’t have a propensity for failing one or two times before hitting it big.

Unfortunately, in our current age of envy there are many people who actually believe that everyone should be protected from failure.  They do not understand that in a free society, people must be allowed to fail, because when you take away the right to fail, you also take away creativity and resourcefulness.  If no one ever took risks, nothing would ever be created.  Just as death is a part of life, so, too, is failure.

Thus, the true entrepreneur embraces failure because he understands that each failure brings him one step closer to success.  That’s why the entrepreneur does not see failure as the end of the line.  Rather, he sees it as a learning experience and has the mental toughness to pick himself up, brush himself off, and move on to the next deal.  And when he moves on, he does so with an arsenal that contains a considerable amount of newly acquired knowledge and wisdom.

Finally, I should point out the obvious — that anyone can start out as an employee (and most people do), then, when he believes he’s ready, choose to leave his job and go into business for himself.  The advantage of taking this path to success is that when he leaves, he takes with him all the knowledge and skills he has accumulated — free of charge — while being paid to do his job.

Thus, everyone is a potential entrepreneur.  Striking out on one’s own is a risk-reward choice, and it’s a choice that is open to every employee.  Each person’s life takes unique twists and turns that result in his being an employee all his life, an entrepreneur all his life, or some combination of the two.

But regardless of the success or failure of those who try their hand at being an entrepreneur, never lose sight of the fact that in a free society, the life of an entrepreneur is open to everyone.  In other words, the entrepreneur is not stifled by a caste system.  Under capitalism, it’s possible for anyone to start out as a low-level employee and rise to the top through his own efforts.

Which is just of the many reasons why I love capitalism.  How sad that the Bernies of the world will never understand the moral sanctity of this powerful subcategory of freedom.

Robert Ringer

+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

32 responses to “America’s Great Unsung Hero”

  1. Heidi McCauley says:

    Excellent article for all those fools who are somehow allowing themselves to be brainwashed by the Bernies out there – including those clueless BLM folks who consider capitalism one of the evils of the world.
    Thank you again for another wonderful article.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Yes, entrepreneurship and capitalism are the ONLY things that have produced a great civilization, but thanks to the liars in the forced schooling establishment, the lamestream media and the criminal politicians, most are led to believe it is an evil system, and they are duped into the con of socialism/communism which ALWAYS FAIL!!! Where are the "journalists" calling out fools like Sean Penn, Don Glover, and Harry Belafonte (Bernie, too) when they were gushing over the "miracle of Venezuela", now that the evils of socialism have kicked in and it is a virtual nightmare?? I think it will be places other than the USA that will lead most of the entrepreneurial innovations of the coming years, since this country's citizens have settled for govt. slavery, for the most part.

  2. PeterMeb says:

    Excellent thoughts! Thanks, for expressing them, Mr. Robert Ringer…

  3. Christian Haller says:

    It wasn't until I left the corporate cocoon and became an entrepreneur that I first felt alive. The cocoon masks the direct connection between action and survival. This has been perhaps the single most important take away from RR over the past 35 years.

  4. Mark says:

    THIS ABSOLUTELY MADE MY DAY!!! It takes courage to own a business! Small business is the Heart and Soul of America! An entrepreneur pays him/herself LAST…after rent, utilities, taxes AND PAYROLL. If you make a payroll…you "know" exactly what I'm talking about. I didn't take a dime out of our stores for ELEVEN years…working full-time and choosing to pay off all costs related to the business. Let that sink in…11 years. And, our story is similar to millions of other entrepreneurs. God Bless the Risk Takers! God Bless America! We DID build it!

    • Tex says:

      Ditto, but I'm now well into my 80s and wouldn't even consider doing it again in the USA. Fortunately, there are many other countries that still offer a reasonable environment for the would-be entrepreneur.

  5. DICK BARRY says:

    My last image of you was way back in 1955 while wearing an army uniform. I’ve come to the realization you’ve successfully lived your Entrepreneurial message, a leadership trait I admire. A message I will pass on to my grandkids whose lives are currently positioned where you were in 1955. Thank you!

  6. Joe Joe Dorner says:

    Should be a poster. You are a great thought leader I have been following more than 40 years.

  7. David Gilbert says:

    Howard Roark's Defense Speech in Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" is an excellent commentary and explanation of the mind and spirit of the Entrepreneur! It is easily found on YouTube, and it will be one of the best 5 minutes you've ever 'invested!'

  8. Roger Roger says:

    I am so glad I picked up WTI all those decades ago. The truth is absolute and the truth tellers like yourself never veer off line. Thanks.

  9. Rick G says:

    This country was built by entrepreneurs. Without them we would not have and enjoy the high standard of living thst we have today.

  10. Jean says:

    Entrepreneurs are at their core, problem solvers. Antifa, Bernie Sanders, BLM and their ilk only know how to fix blame, but individually or collectively, none of them could figure their way out of a paper sack.

    • Bob says:

      Did you forget the Alt right?

      • Jean says:

        In this context, the so-called "alt right" aren't relevant. They aren't the ones demanding reparations, redistribution of wealth, unearned positions or government give-aways based on perceived victimhood. In fact, many of those deemed to be "alt-right" may well be entrepreneurs, small business owners and farmers who just want the government to leave them the hell alone.

        • thebacksaver says:

          Jean: well said. Your words really rang true to me when you mentioned the nations farmers. I've had the opportunity to speak to a few of them. It seemed to me they just had a lot of common sense. Possibly this is enough to get you labeled as a member of the alt right today?

          • Jean says:

            There's no question about that. Common sense (which really isn't all that common any more) has been relabeled and redefined as "hate" or some "…phobia." From the farmer who has been told that he can't repair the drainage tile in his most productive acreage because the EPA has deemed the land "protected wetlands" to the small business owner in Chicago whose plant was shut down by EEO because according to their quota system, it employed too many Hispanics and not enough blacks, there has been backlash against the imposition of delusional social justice / environmental / asset redistribution schemes for many years. It erupted in 2016, when the deplorables (yes, I count myself as one of those) saw a non-politician with a strong private sector identity decide to take on Washington. That frightens the entrenched elites in Washington and their allies in the media, who invented the term "alt-right" and then defined it for the low-information crowd.

          • Angedur says:

            Very much true. I consider alt right media much more credible that MSM. And have never met a KKK or Neo Nazi ever. The MSM, elites and college crowd have a false narrative definition of alt right. Would not be surprised if they call Robert Ringer alt right.

  11. Rocketman says:

    One of the main reason that Jefferson was broke when he died was because he had a son-in-law that was constantly drinking and gambling and he didn't want his daughter and grandchildren to be homeless so he helped them out.

  12. Rick D'Amico says:

    "……..They do not understand that in a free society, people must be allowed to fail, because when you take away the right to fail, you also take away creativity and resourcefulness. If no one ever took risks, nothing would ever be created. Just as death is a part of life, so, too, is failure." This is so profound! Thank you again as always Robert!

  13. Jay says:

    As an Entrepreneur, I have reinvented myself each and every time that I found it necessary to do so. It helps to be creative. And to be able to recognize opportunities and act upon them…

  14. Jim Hallett says:

    As I was reading this excellent article, I thought how ironic that the gorgeous UVA campus and its city of Charlottesville, thanks to entrepreneur TJ, would be the site of the recent nonsense with Antifa, BLM, and neo- Nazis, all orchestrated by the puppet master, George Soros. Thomas Jefferson would be rolling in his grave seeing what has happened to his great town/campus.

  15. Mic says:

    Excellent article! I have been an entrepreneur for the last 13 years of my career. I tell people that ask that is the last job I will ever have. I love it! I wouldn't trade this life for all the tea in China.

    I remember in college while taking a business cycles class in my economics program that one of my favorite professors laid out the theory that it was the entrepreneur that moved economies out of the bottom of a business cycle back into the growth phase again. He also referred to this unsung hero as "Captain Production" and I still remember him bringing in some giant action figure he had painted up and dressed with a logo and the name "Captain Production". The class loved it. I knew then that entrepreneurs were the true heros of society and vowed then and there that I would join that class of people someday.

  16. Jurgy says:

    many people are in business for themselves; only a few among them are truly entrepreneurs …

    • awarenessforex says:

      You have to "pay yourself first" so that you can later pay others. Once you scale your operations to where you can 'give more than you receive', then it is easier to benefit others in a sustainable way.

  17. RealitySeeker says:

    Under the current system an entrepreneur is actually a host to a variety of parasites. Forced to wade through the collectivist swamp the entrepreneur has to constantly pick leeches … Then the federal, state and local swamp-o-crats, tax collecting alligators, political snakes and hypocritical do-good-swamp bugs all move in for the kill…

    Yeah, any entrepreneur who survives the swamp without being transformed into a swamp-preneur is a true hero indeed…

  18. Tom DeVoe says:

    Bravo, Mr. Ringer! You are truly an American Icon! America needs more thought leaders such as you.

  19. Terry Monroe says:

    Excellent article Robert. I like so many others started out as an employee and then became an entrepreneur 35 years ago and have never looked back. After about 15 years I stumbled on to your books and my career exploded. I told myself I was going to use your book "Winning Through Intimidation" as my guide book and it worked. And I still continue to use the book as a guide and owe much of my success to you. Thank you. And your entrepreneur article confirms why we stay entrepreneurs.

  20. Charles N. Steele says:

    One of RJR's best posts! Those who really hate capitalism actually hate the entrepreneur — they are almost always people unwilling to personally take risks. They may be intellectuals who bitterly cling to their tenure and their echo chamber journals & conferences, or they may be thuggish antifas, resisters, and wannabe revolutionaries lashing out angrily against a system that rewards achievement rather than feelings of entitlement, but it's always the risk-taking achiever that they really resent.

    Conversely, the great thing about capitalism is that it allows anyone and everyone to come up with ideas to make others better off, and rewards them if they succeed. Smith, Mises, and Ringer are right. Capitalism — free enterprise — is the lifeblood of civilization.

  21. Nasdaq7 says:

    Google Comey began drafting 'exoneration statement' before interviewing Clinton, senators say.

  22. I guess I won't make friends today either. I just can't understand this approach of generalizing entrepreneurship to a whole population. If you want to, you could call a kid eating his bowl of cereals in the morning an entrepreneur because eating a bowl of cereal by yourself, when your 5 years old, requires some kind of entrepreneurial spirit. George Bush held the same motivational discourse as you Robert…but it never took traction with me…why…because this discourse fails in terms of vocabulary. We are all opportunists, we, human beings, it is what we are as animals. This is why, in reality, we are closer to bears than bulls, even if the populist preference is for the latter. Being opportunists, as an animal, does not make one an entrepreneur. In fact, in terms of disposition and character profile, it is estimated that only about 15% of the population have the pre-requisite for being entrepreneurs. Among these only about 20% will meet sustainable success (from genuine honest endeavours). So yes, there is merit in being a successful entrepreneurs. But most of us are not, that is the truth. And filing a Schedule C, or selling artefacts on Ebay or elsewhere, does not make one an entrepreneur, but an opportunist.
    And I do agree that people don't have the taste for risk anymore, but it is because those who have talent to dominate, love the status quo, have developed an aversion for risk, and government has allowed itself to become the maternal surrogate for those "entrepreneurs" who don't succeed and never really had the taste for genuine ethical risk taking. This effectively has the effect of destroying what should be the natural distribution of probability and risk/reward distributions…and is not capitalism. Further, add to this the perversities of Wall Street, where downward pressures that created more equilibrium have been ostracised to be replaced by "bullish" trading computers supported by the FED and the SEC….yes, capitalism is dead forever.
    And lastly, criminals, who view themselves as great entrepreneurs, simply because they act in ill faith, in a socio-political system where good faith is a pillar…and we are in a disaster of a corruption of capitalism, unless you view your local Hell's Angels Chapter as Great American Entrepreneurs.
    And therefore, I am not sure that here, Antifa or White Nationalists are the source of the problem….
    So, what George Bush was saying to what could have been then "Early Forgotten Men" was: You are on your own…When Obama was saying: Forgotten Men don't exist, they are an invention of science because we all know now that there is no such thing as genders…we are all the same…And Trump to Conclude: Forgotten Men…You're Losers!

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