Pioneers, Settlers, & Crooks

I am reading a book called “The War of Art” right now and if you haven’t read it you should. The main idea revolves around “Resistance” which is anything that prevents us from doing the work we feel called to do. It’s a repelling, distracting, negative energy that each of us has to face if we are to ever put anything of value out into the world.

Pressfield calls it, “the most toxic force on the planet” and in many ways I agree. It stops truth, beauty and goodness from coming forth and leaves us trapped in the status quo.

You know what piece of resistance I have to overcome every time I write?

THIS voice:

“Your idea isn’t well researched enough. It isn’t vetted. You need more time, case studies, experts, and statistics to validate what you are saying. Your metaphor isn’t perfect. It only works generally not always specifically. Just keep this for yourself until you can REALLY figure this out.”

Well here I am. Writing again. Feeling the same feeling. Knowing that what I’m about to put out probably has some holes in it, some missing parts, some areas of refinement that are needed. But you know what? I don’t care. And you shouldn’t either because I am inviting you to think about something, not accept what I say as 100% truth.

So if you need all the facts, if you need expert analysis, my blog posts probably won’t leave you satisfied. But if you are wanting to explore truth, beauty and goodness with me…welcome to the team.

OK so back to Pioneers, Settlers and Crooks…

I am a pioneer. I have always been one. Since I was little I always wanted to explore, to try new things and to share what I have learned with others. I was always zigging when others were zagging.

Pioneers don’t have the formula, but they do have courage. Which is why when I write, I won’t be able to share my most recent thoughts with you if I have to cross every “t” and dot every “i.” I would rather just share with you the raw data of what I am learning.

So…which do you most associate with?

Pioneers: Focus — Explore

Pioneers have a restless focus on the exploration of the new. They live with a dissatisfaction with the status quo, and push the community to new frontiers. They call us to new ways living and are willing to embrace the discomfort of the unknown in order to bring us to new places. They can bring paradigm-shifting innovation that takes a longer time to develop. Pioneers are comfortable with mystery. Pioneers look OUT.

Danger: Pioneers without settlers are exhausted and alone.

Settlers: Focus — Develop

Settlers are more comfortable with the known and want to make it better. They are typically more satisfied with the current reality and believe that it holds the potential to serve the community well. They typically bring innovation to the current system which could be incremental or substantial. Settlers are less comfortable with mystery, Settlers look IN.

Danger: Settlers without pioneers are stagnant and insular.

Crooks: Focus — Steal

Crooks often look like pioneers but are really just identityless rebels. They ride into town with bombast and dupe some into their destructive but seductive way of life. Crooks are not willing to put in the hard work that it takes to build something that works. They are only willing and capable of stealing the hard work of both the pioneers and the settlers. They are fakes and they are all about themselves. Lots of noise, lots of drama, lots of gunshots and the community is left worse after they have come through.

Danger: Crooks need pioneers and settlers because they are not creative. They are destructive.

So that is the paradigm.

Here are 5 encouragements if you connect with this idea:

  1. Pioneers and settlers can both be innovators. Innovation can come through exploration of the unknown, and also the development of the known.

  2. Pioneers and settlers cannot hang out for too long. Try to turn a pioneer into a settler and you end up with a rebel. Try to turn a settler into a pioneer and they will put the whole expedition at risk with their caution. Settlers, give space for your pioneers to explore. Pioneers, allow your settlers to enjoy what has been developed. You are in this together.

  3. Crooks are never innovators. Innovation is change that ADDS NEW VALUE. Crooks steal value and use it for their own enrichment.

  4. Pioneers and settlers must band together to get rid of crooks. Watch each other's backs.

  5. Pioneers and settlers can learn from one another. Kind of like introverts and extroverts. Allow the pioneer’s exploring spirit infuse into your settling work, and pioneers allow the settlers to focus on development to season your restless pioneering work.

Pioneers and settlers are both in the business of creating value. Crooks steal it. Get to work, give each other space to use your gifts, and drive out the crooks.

Jason DeMeo