There are a lot of success stories doing the rounds in the world of the start-up, great emotional tails of success and big wins on the funding round. Sometime with all this good news the average entrepreneur (not that there is one) can’t help but feel dwarfed by the success of others, can’t help feel the twinge of resentment or envy.
This is a natural human response especially in a society so focused on the materialistic outcomes, the trappings of success that many brandish with pride and honour. Hell, when you can’t afford a set of tyres on the car but you watch the Audi sports drive by, the guilt associated to the feelings of jealousy pulls at your very core of being. The sad truth is that we may look down on these emotions and outwardly put on a brave face, but we are acting. Don’t you love those televised award ceremonies that show the faces of the unlucky loser, who, with majesty and grace, smile and applaud those who have just stolen their prize? Inside they are seething – outwardly they smile, laugh and shrug their shoulders in a humble expression of ‘maybe next time’. In reality this was their best work, their most personally prized work of their lives and no one will remember them. I shouldn’t think like that, as I write this I am inwardly cringing at the thought that envy could reside in me, but it does or at least has.
I am not a psychologist so I don’t know what is a healthy mind or not, emotionally that is, but I have seen and experienced my fair share of failure. Witnessed those who have watched their dreams crumble despite endless hours of work, constant battles and days, weeks and months of disbelief as their aspirations vanish. I have felt the tightness in the gut, the pain as my physical frame simply stiffens and seizes up with anxiety. No amount of goodwill can stop these emotions and when you experience them, you know one thing, never do you want to experience them ever again.
When I meet those just about to go on the entrepreneurial journey there is a large part of me that wants to cry out and say ‘no way’, ‘why would you do that’ but equally there is a very large part that says ‘go for it’. As an investor and advisor it’s not my job to diss people’s ideas but it is my job to make sure that every tool, every facet of their mind is focused on what this journey truly evolves. There is something worse than watching someone’s dream evaporate – watching them look on as their ideas go untested by them or worse their ideas become the property of others.
Entrepreneurs are doers, they are people who act and execute in the name of value creation, they will fight for and deliver change. We do not chose the way of contentment instead we follow a path that challenges every fibre of our being.
If there is one thing I don’t understand it’s this – contentment. I am sorry and I am sure there are many people who aspire to this state, but for me it is the worst state there is. The contented person never wants to stretch, to step away from the confines of their safety net, and take pride in a life with no pain. Contentment is the corporations natural state, the herbivore in a field of grass unaware of the lion that prowls around the perimeter. That life is not for me because what I witness daily makes me discontented. The chattering of our politicians, the paucity of decision making that choses appeasement over confrontation.
If we are hurt we do something about it, if we are damaged we look to make ourselves better. We look to learn and understand. The sticking plaster on the cut will alleviate the flow of blood, but it is the air and open elements that heal the skin. The passion I feel for this region, for the entrepreneurial culture that we are a part of, these are the elements that will help those who have or are experiencing the pain of underperformance. Collectively we learn, education and practice are the ways in which we test new ideas and seek out new opportunity. Not because we are contented but because it is our discontent that motivates us.
Every person who has experienced the pain of a failed idea, or even worse the pain of someone else’s success with their idea, has felt the world judge them as they have judged others. We need to recognise that we have a choice, to learn, to build on the foundations of an experience that is so uncomfortable that we simply can’t experience that again or, if not this, then we chose instead to lay down on the bed of contentment.
Relocon is an entrepreneurial agitator, a business that connects, stimulates and educates entrepreneurs. By raising our skills, opening the mind of the contained thinker we can find and hone opportunity and in doing so create the quality jobs that we need. Contact us at to discuss your needs – we are happy to connect and make things happen