The Entrepreneurial Mindset

3rd May 2011
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View from the sidelines by Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy

It’s all in the mind. Chandu Nair, founder of eScope Knowledge, told me what kept him going despite coming on the verge of closure of business: “I would call it stupidity. We simply weren’t willing to give up.” Steve Jobs finished his famous Stanford commomeration speech with “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” But stupidity and foolishness should be restricted to experimenting with new ideas when the world does not believe in it or not in giving up easily, not otherwise.

Entrepreneurship is a state of mind – that is abnormal, unlike, and difficult to comprehend. It is a disease characterized by restlessness, hyperactivity, and working always. It’s a different zone altogther. Those bitten by the entrepreneurial bug know it better. They enter a mindspace that they have never been to before.

The first freebie that comes with entrepreneurship is independence and making your own decisions, thereby your own destiny. This ego massage gives enormous power at one level and is immensely liberating at the other. Needless to say it carries a factor of risk as well. Employing people gives much needed “hygiene” factor of entrepreneurship, that feeling good impression. When you make your own decisions, you fail multiple times. Some of it can be shared and others are simply tucked inside your brain. This is a necessary learning curve every entrepreneur goes through.

The inspiration to become an entrepreneur is varied and diverse. Different people have different motivations. But they at least have one clear purpose of becoming an entrepreneur. Passion takes over from inspiration after sometime, failing which the entrepreneur runs dry.

Is entrepreneurship nature or can be nurtured? If you can work independently without supervision and have the power to take responsibility for your decisions, that is perhaps the first step. Other steps follow later. Brash, aggressive, Type A’s have not been always successful at running a business, whereas introverted, inarticulate, and passive people have also achieved success. But they have other strengths.

The zone you are in is entirely operative upon how you assemble different pieces of your business together and the direction in which you thrust your energies. The learning experience is unparalleled in entrepreneurship. Sometimes the journey is the reward, as they say.

Success is hard and if you achieve it early and become famous, you should know how to handle this. They are first by-products of your effort and hardwork more than anything else. Success achieved in increments is long-lasting and sustainable. Be careful not to let your success go into your head. You will have many more problems on hand.

A certain level of balance in the face of success or failure, hope or despair, adulation or criticism is really necessary to keep yourself going. You have to find your well of refuge if things don’t look up. A Bias for Action lists a few ways in which people have handled extremely difficult situations to achieve success. Remembering the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling would go a long way to keep yourself level-headed to stay in the game for long.

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