Know Thy Enemy

“Know thyself, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” -Sun Tzu

Know thyself…who are you?

You must personally answer that. But simply put, in our eyes you’re a big deal. Why?

Because you’re on this earth and you’re living and breathing. Moreover, if you’re reading this you’re likely in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest people. But regardless of economic standing, you have the potential to be great and serve great. You have the capacity within to improve your own life as well as the lives of countless others. Know yourself. Believe in yourself. There is much good for you to accomplish.

Know thy enemy…what’s the enemy?

Well, in the context of community development and elevating quality of life, the enemy is poverty. Poverty sucks! Yes, it does! It sucks energy, hope and life from billions of people around the globe. It breads apathy, desperation and ignorance. It oftentimes leads to human trafficking and violence. The enemy,

in a nut shell, is the lack of basic human needs (i.e. medicine and health care services, proper nutrition, shelter, education, clean water, etc.). The UN defines the enemy as “a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity.” 40% of the world’s population lives on less than $2/day–near the level of extreme poverty.

What are you going to do about it?

How are you going to combat thy enemy? First and foremost, you must understand it! You must be educated, as Sun Tzu suggests. Despite the fact that there may be no silver bullet to bring the enemy to its knees, there are many books written on the subject as well as guiding principles for development that can help us be better prepared to combat it. No matter how high the costs or how insurmountable the obstacles, we must be willing to work towards combating and overcoming the enemy.

Lastly, we must be willing to shake things up a bit and do things differently. To be honest, I’m not pleased with the non-profit sector as a whole. Yeah, there are thousands of credible organizations and individuals doing an insane amount of good. But there’s also a lot of waste and unnecessary competition. There’s a lot of good intent, but good intent must meet proven development principles in the middle in order to avoid handouts and inadvertent mismanagement. As a group, we must stand up and work together in this fight to combat the enemy all while showing greater accountability and clearer transparency. Learn how GOF is different here.

Surely, if we first know who we are and realize our greatness, coupled with the knowhow of our enemy, we shall, as Sun Tzu stated, experience “a thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

Join with GOF to help lessen the affects of the enemy on communities we serve. Get involved today!

  • *Thoughts for this blog post were inspired by the book “A Billion Bootstraps,” as well as Wade Roberts’ powerpoint lecture slides given for University of Utah economic students.Thanks to Mike Wynn for providing me with his slides!
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