To all the young minds out there: In our world you can easily minimize the pain of self doubt, the failures, the uncertainty and the emotional rollercoaster to the time you will be looking for your first job. And steadily grow from there, on a linear path to a guaranteed decent retirement. Or, you can skip the professional, stable, secure life for a life of gambles. A life where you will constantly be rolling dices. A life of great risk. A life of uncertainty. A life of constant emotional changes. A life of entrepreneurship. It’s a choice. Which would you choose?
I would roll the dice. I would skip the life-long professional career for a life of entrepreneurship. I would skip the secure emotional path for a path where I can experience extremes. Extreme depressions and extreme ecstasies. I want to explore the whole continuum. I am not interested in sticking to the center and the happily ever after, for that happiness is too close to the center of the continuum, it’s almost a neutral state between sadness and happiness; a point where our emotional senses are attenuated.
A life of entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is one of abundant failures, self doubt and uncertainty. Every tiny success is preceded by more failures than one can count. With the consecutive failures, the traveler of this path digs themselves into a deep emotional hole that only the subsequent success can get them out of. The failures drive their persistence. The aspiration for that illusion of a light at the end of the tunnel that no sensible Man would pursue is what drives them to achieve the extraordinary. It is that mix of madness and childish dreams that creates genius. They are mad to go all in to reach for the imaginary light and they are childish to believe it will work.
If constant failures do not lure you to a life of entrepreneurship, let’s then talk about the troubling continuous uncertainty. The luxury of certainty is unaffordable to the entrepreneur. Every new project is a new adventure on an untraveled path that the entrepreneur has to travel with no signs, no safety nets and no probabilities of success. They will show you plans and graphs, and numbers and stuff, but those are there to alleviate, for the uninitiated, the bungee jump behind it. They are there to hide the entrepreneur’s addiction to the exhilarating moments of sudden downs and downs. And, yes, after tens of downs, maybe, just maybe, the adrenaline climax of an up.
By now you should be convinced of the immature and irresponsible nature of the ever failing entrepreneur. The choice is now yours. But, one more thing: there’s also the regular and almost pathological self-doubt. Naturally, when making one’s own path into the unknown every decision triggers self-doubt. Consecutive decisions of that sort everyday mean compounded self-doubt. A condition that makes many entrepreneurs go in circles for long years of their lives. But, once that gift of self-doubt is harnessed it becomes the entrepreneur’s compass. It becomes a constant test of every decision that steers them to the right way.
It sounds as if only a psychopath would choose the path of entrepreneurship, but let me assure you, in all seriousness, that with failures, the entrepreneur loses their fear, with uncertainty they gain confidence and with self-doubt they get rid of arrogance. The result is “a courageous, confident and humble being who experienced every point on life’s continuums” (emotional, spiritual, social and for the lucky ones, financial and even political). I would love to have that on my gravestone. Wouldn’t you?