“Wer will dass die Welt so bleibt, will nicht dass sie bleibt.” was said by Erich Fried. Translation – If you want the world to remain as it is, then you don’t want the world to remain at all.
The first time I came across this quote was a few years ago on the Berlin Wall. It is from the 1981 book, Lebenschatten, by German poet, Erich Fried. And while the Berlin Wall was still to remain for another eight years after the book was published, almost forty years later, this quote is completely relevant in almost every situation.
The world as it stands today- from climate to equality- is not sustainable in any way. The current people in power are desperately trying to hold on, but even with the threat of COVID, people are not afraid to take to the streets in solidarity and protest for their rights and for the rights of Mother Nature.
And while we wait for governments to finally wake up and take drastic action in order to create a society in which no-one or no thing is suffering, we can (and should) also look to business for solutions.
Entrepreneurs are like superheroes
As entrepreneurs, it is our responsibility to create businesses that have a positive impact on the community and the environment. The current economic system is built upon a profit-first mindset, in which the thirst for more and more money comes at the cost of people’s lives and the health of our entire planet.
But as entrepreneurs, we have the power to change that. And while it may seem like an incredibly daunting task to revolutionise the current economic system, which is also essentially the only economic system we have ever known, it is also very achievable.
And it begins by looking within. Looking within ourselves to determine our values and the legacy we want to leave for the next generations, as well as within our businesses to see where we can do better, and where we are falling short of working in accordance with our own values and what is best for our world.
The tools and strategies to revolutionise our own business models and therefore the entire system are there, it is just a matter of actually identifying what we need to do and going ahead with investing the time and money to do it.
This requires a long term view. Thinking well beyond what our financial projections are for this year and next, but actually thinking deeply about how our companies will look in another decade or two… or more.
What type of world do we envision that our companies will be operating in? How will we have contributed to this world? And what steps can we start taking today that will move us in that direction?
Revolutionising the economy is unprecedented. The same type of person has dominated business and politics since these structures came into existence, with minorities and women being left out pretty much all together. But just because that’s how it’s always been done, it doesn’t make it right.
We can see by what is happening in the world today, that the time has come to change how society functions, as well as the value we place on each other, other beings and our shared home.
Completely changing our economy and the basis for how we do business can be done. It just requires the courage to be different, to voice the need for change and to think beyond what has been done to what is possible and what changes we want to see.
We can revolutionise the business world
That’s why entrepreneurs like us are so suited to this massive task. We are by definition creative, visionary and motivated. We see the world differently. We are courageous enough to put ourselves and our ideas out into the world, which means we can be the ones to commit to using our businesses as a force for good.
With every decision we make in our own businesses, we have the chance to set the precedent for how business should be. We can show the government, society and even other businesses who are stuck in the “business as usual paradigm” exactly how much better off we can all be, if we move away from the profit-at-all-costs model of business.
Identify what you can do today to create a more positive impact for our future. Start small today and build upon it. Don’t get complacent and think that you have “done enough”. There is always more to do and there are always more opportunities to improve your business and how it impacts the world.
Now is the time. We shouldn’t want the world to stay as it is. Or it very likely won’t remain for future generations.