I was having a discussion with my daughter recently about the differences between the pathway of the entrepreneur or investor, and the orthodox employment pathway. It is concerning conventional education is silent about this key issue. Yet it is an issue becoming more important as technology disrupts traditional labour markets around the world.
Platforms such as eLance, Guru and the like, already mean people can work independently as they choose. New models of work are now being created, not just by consultants or freelancers, but by tech entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are devising new ways to create leveraged income streams, and new paradigms of wealth.
The road of the entrepreneur or investor is a much harder one. Technology and the reach of global markets are now making things a little easier, but it is still the road less travelled. We are perhaps living with the hangover of industrial age of the 19th and 20th Centuries.
The entrepreneur’s mindset is characterised by creativity, non-conformity and persistence. Unrelenting persistence in the face of necessary challenges, uncertainties and setbacks is perhaps the most important trait.
Persistence is closely tied to vision and belief. A vision to make something better, a life better, and a belief you can do this. These drive persistence. In turn, persistence, vision and belief are the prelude to purpose- a higher purpose in what you are doing, and how it will benefit others.
For instance, if you are creating a new piece of technology, ask first, not how much money can you make, but how many people are served by the product. The higher the utility, the stronger the purpose, and then, the greater the reward.
When we make a contribution in this way, we are exemplifying the ancient principle of: serve first, and then you will be served.
Creative vision and purpose will always attract hardship in the early years. Traditionalists sceptics and others make our journey tough. Perhaps this too has a function. Perhaps challenges and criticism make our products better, make us better. This is linked to the Japanese idea of Kaizen– constant and unending improvement.
Strength comes from struggle, not ease.
Excellence is like art, it evolves.
We see this in the life and work of Thomas Edison. His invention of the light bulb in 1879 is something all of us now, some 140 years later, value every day. Edison’s life and work is a fine, enduring contribution. However, his road was not easy. He ‘failed’ many, many times. Vision, purpose and persistence kept him focused. This mindset existed, perhaps flourished, in the face of sceptics and naysayers.
Too many of us give up too early. I remember hearing several years ago, ‘success is simply not giving up…you fail by stopping…’
Find something that drives you. Find something that can serve others for many decades. Find your unique vision, your unique purpose. It is there, quietly waiting. Then commit to making it a reality in the world.
If you improve just a little every day, if you do not stop, you will eventually succeed.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”- Thomas A. Edison.
By Lee Spano, Creatness International www.creatness.com