Conformity is the Modern Cowardice

Man with a barcode on his foreheadWorking with entrepreneurs I see many “wantrapreneurs.”  These are people who claim they want to be an entrepreneur but are too risk averse to ever make the leap. They talk about their plan, sometimes all their life. Or they put forth time and money to start a business, but never enough commitment to ever have a real chance to succeed.

A more advanced version of the “wantrapreneur” may work on their business for months or years, waiting for all things to be perfect and risk free before they fully commit. Not surprisingly, perfect and risk free never comes. What they have created is a self-fulfilling excuse to tell themselves.

My point is not that all entrepreneurially-minded people should plunge headfirst into a full-time business with no regard to risk. In fact, my point today has little to do with entrepreneurship.

What the “wantrapreneur” shows us is how we often and easily fool ourselves. Just like many of them have fooled themselves into the idea that someday will be the perfect day to commit full-time to their business, most of us fool ourselves just as much about our lives.

For most, life is easily filled with the excuses we create. We may say these excuses to others, but we created them for ourselves. I contend that people are more afraid of failing than they are to fail and learn a lesson. So they avoid both failure and the lessons it gives us. Instead, people conform. Their patterns match everyone else’s in life and work, like a big army all marching to the same beat in the same direction.

The deep need to fool ourselves into conformity is the modern cowardice.  We don’t run away from a fight, we pretend there are no more fights, or that fights are for others. Or for the people we see on television, where reality shows are not that real.

But there is a fight we should not run from; the fight with ourselves, to really control our lives and our own thinking. Avoid that fight and we become a “wantrapreneur” with our lives. We are left old with nothing but the excuses we’ve talked ourselves into believing and no days left to try again.


Glenn S. PhillipsGlenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself.  You can email Glenn directly at

Glenn is also the founder, and Senior Consultant, of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.

© Copyright 2014. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.