Would You Like Arrows With That?

Most entrepreneurs like to think of themselves as pioneers. Trailblazers. Adventurers.

It's a very romantic image, isn't it?

There's only one problem: in the Americas, the pioneers were the ones found along the trail with arrows in their back.

If you are committed to being a pioneer, you are also committed to receiving the arrows.

If you don't want that kind of risk, it might be best to let other people be pioneers, and for you to follow after they've taken the risks, and done the dangerous work. You might be happier as a “settler”.

This is not an indictment of your character. For instance, you're not being a pioneer if you become an accountant. Or even a CEO. But both can be very profitable and honorable career choices.

On the other hand, staking your future on an uncertain technology startup is pioneering. We love to hear the success stories – the “outliers”. What we typically don't hear about is the hundreds of thousands of people who go off on the pioneering trail, never to return.

So you have to ask yourself: arrows, or no arrows?

Question: Are you more of a pioneer, or a “settler”?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • When I’m swiping, I’m a settler. When I’m tired of copying, I am a pioneer, and it hurt, but feels liberating, too.

    •  @btalbot As long as you know the cost, and you’re willing to pay it, then go for it!

  • Hi Ray,
    I’ll take your of the term “settler” a little different direction. 
    To me a “settler” can very well be one who “settles” for less than seeking their fullest potential.  This could be in career choices, health and relationships.  People settle all time and then make the the choice to live in miserable mediocrity over seeking fulfillment by venturing into the unknown realm of potential achievement.  It is when you venture into the unknown on a quest to find something greater in your life that you are a pioneer, because so many choose to settle.
    For me,  I can’t stay still and sink deeper into the recliner, TV remote in hand awaiting slow death.  I must venture into the unknown and be a pioneer. (I’ll risk the arrows).
    I’m building a business to change the world!
    Be God’s
    Robert Miller

    •  @bestprac Slow death? Just say no!

  • fischerls

    I want to be a pioneer. Do find that this is a ongoing struggle, well at the beginning at least? I fight my laziness and my inner voice of doubt. When I fight through it and do something productive things start happening. I need to this more often and closer together. 

    •  @fischerls  One of the most powerful things you can do is to realize you are not the identity of “lazy” or “doubtful”. In almost every case, those particular behaviors are the result of a habit. The habit is triggered by something. The key is to figure out what triggers the habit that you call “lazy”, and what is the reward that the lazy behavior brings you? Then figure out a way to have the same trigger provoke you into a new response, that still gives you the same reward. I know this is a little tough to get your head around at 1st, which is why I suggest you read the new book “the power of habit”by Charles Duhigg. It’s available on Amazon.  I really picked up some powerful distinctions from reading this book.

  • O don’t I feel it!  Stuck in the forest looking for the clearing and the way out. The arrows of ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘what makes you think they’ll pay for that?’ fly fast every time I stick my head up.  And so I read and I write and I build my armor.  They might be right, and I might fail, but I’m thriving on the challenge.