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John Mackey is the co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods.

A Forbes book review of Mackey’s book, Conscious Capitalism, quoted him writing about the food co-op movement. He observed people within the food co-op wasting valuable time and energy “boycotting.” But no where were they discussing actual solutions:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized. The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers. I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

This is the heart of a true entrepreneur — not only seeing problems in the world, but also having a drive to SOLVE them by bringing about a solution.

It’s one thing to talk about problems and be engrossed in them (and “boycott” them) — it’s quite another thing to create a solution.

Mackey founded a small natural food store called “Safer-Way,” which later became Whole Foods, now a $12.9 billion company. The rest is history.

As anyone who love organic knows, there are plenty of companies you could boycott. It’s a never-ending maze of “fake organic versus real organic.” The deeper you go into it, the more pissed off and distracted you get as you realize, “A lot of companies out there are cutting corners!”

As an organic product business, you can certainly “boycott the enemy” and encourage your customers to do the same. But don’t spend ALL your energy in boycotting mode.

Instead, ask: “What can WE do to make our better products even better?”

Focus on the solution, not just the problem.

About the Author

Michelle Lopez is a writer, editor, and copywriter with a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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