Editor's Note: This column was written by Dr. Craig Columbus, of the Center for Vision and Values
This is the time of year when 2012 prediction lists abound. I am struck by how many lists have included some reference to a surge in American entrepreneurship during the next year. Entrepreneurs are clearly being counted upon to act as one of the centerpieces of America's economic recovery.
The educational and networking opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs have never been more robust. The question is, however, are the character formation and leadership opportunities equally developed? You see, entrepreneurs need both skill and will.
Entrepreneurship is challenging work. It has been rightly described as an idea in search of a business model. The typical startup encounters numerous course corrections.
Yet, through all the experimentation and long hours, successful entrepreneurs never lose their ultimate bearings. They know where they want to go, even if they aren't exactly sure how to get there. They are undeterred by inevitable setbacks.
In November, the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas visited my Founders' Constitution class at Grove City College. Memorably, Justice Thomas told the students, "True north is always north."
In recent months, the media has focused heavily on protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street. These movements, led primarily by young people, reflect populist anger and frustration. But merely protesting capitalism's ills will not alter the trajectory of the economy or provide more opportunities for a concerned generation of American workers.
Truly great reform movements translate enthusiasm and passion into action. They have second and third acts. They launch people into positions of influence in political, business, and philanthropic life.
Crossing that bridge usually requires finding "true north" in the night sky.
One thing is clear-many young people want more control over their own career paths. They want more purpose and meaning from work life. All are available from entrepreneurial endeavors. However, there is no entitlement in entrepreneurship. That's where the will part comes in.
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