Entrepreneurship is the toughest sport that I know of. Most of the sports demand a certain aspect of you. Some sport demands you to pay your full attention, some sports pure creativity, some demand your speed and some your stamina. Entrepreneurship demands all of you, nothing left behind.
When entrepreneurs succeed, people call them risk takers, courageous and fearless. Media portrays a very superficial image of entrepreneurs and that leads most people to believe that they have to be fearless.
People who have not been entrepreneurs, and people who never will be have very wrong notions about entrepreneurship. This false belief systems leads certain people to throw logic out of the window, depend on luck and think that their reckless behaviour is the same as being fearless and courageous. That’s why 95% of the businesses fail.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Unlike what people think, successful entrepreneurs feel their emotions on a deep level without any filters.
If you were asked to run as fast as possible, you will run pretty fast. If I let a big dog chase you, then you will know how far can fear take you.
When you feel real fear, you have an unfair advantage of extra performance, thanks to millions of years of evolution. Feeling fear on a deep level could be your biggest growth hack to succeed as an entrepreneur.
It’s not just about fear. It helps to feel all the emotions, both positive and negative on a deep level. Entrepreneurs are not very good at suppressing emotions.
Anyone can suppress their emotions and feelings. There is no glory in that. Instead of resisting emotions, entrepreneurs are are strong enough to let their emotions felt without any filters.
The best analogy to understand this is to think about concrete and steel. Being strong like concrete and being tensile like steel are two different worlds.
Being “strong” means not feeling emotions and letting yourself feel the depth and intensity of it. Being tensile means to allow all emotions to be felt at a deep level.
As a Civil engineer, I can say that the tensile strength of steel is more important than the compression strength of concrete. When a building is over-reinforced with concrete, it won’t show any signs when it is about to collapse because of overload. At one fine moment, with the last straw on the camel’s back, the structure collapses.
When a building is reinforced with steel more than concrete, the structure would show up cracks when it can’t handle the load. Steel has tensile strength which helps the building yield to the pressure and it doesn’t lead to a sudden collapse of the structure.
When you are tensile like steel, you are going to let all your emotions felt at a very deep level. This makes sure that you feel fear when you have to, and feel excitement when you have to. This gives you a long life as an entrepreneur because you are letting the emotions pass through you. And it helps you fix yourself.
If you try to block your emotions, it will build up over time like water getting collected in a reservoir and one fine moment, the dam of emotions will burst open.
So don’t be fearless, instead feel fear on a deep level.
Don’t be a risk taker, but take calculated risks independent of the outcome.
Don’t resist boredom and solitude, experience it fully and let it pass through you.
Once you have let emotions pass through you, and once you have felt the full intensity of it, you will grow stronger.
You will no longer fear fear. You will become immune to negative emotions and it becomes less of a concern over time. You will be able to tackle bigger problems as your organization grows beyond your wildest dreams.
Letting your emotions play through you also applies for positive thoughts. If you see that there is a true possibility for changing the world with your idea, don’t try to suppress it. May be you can change the world. If you don’t believe it, you cannot make anyone else believe it.
The size of your dream might intimidate you. But don’t try to be “practical” with your dreams, let the excitement take a life of its own and get carried away.
Be crazy enough to think that you might change the world, and one day you actually might.
Letting emotions play itself out is necessary for growth. If you do not have the strength to experience massive fear and failure, you will not have the strength to experience massive success either.
If you have 1,000 crores in your bank account, what would you do?
If you do not have the strength to experience the fear of going broke, you might not have the strength to handle the excitement when you have 1,000 crores in the bank. You might redirect such a reality away from your life even if such a dream wants to express itself through your reality.
You don’t need to change who you are. But you need to grow. You need to grow our of your fears, not by resisting the feeling of fear, but by experience fear fully.
A kid never stops fearing a dark cave by trying to suppress the feeling of fear. That kid will stop fearing dark caves by letting fear 100% through him and going into the dark cave once with all might. Once he does it, in spite of his fear, he will know that there is nothing to be afraid of a dark cave. If the kid tried to avoid fear, then he would never know that the cave is harmless.
Only if you go beyond where you think you cannot go, you will discover how far you can actually go.
Once you let fear run through you and do what you fear anyway, fear disappears.
Fear is an illusion of danger. Then only way to make the illusion go away is the get in touch with the danger. The illusion will be the at its wildest just before the point of contact with danger. Once you make contact, the illusion disappears. And so does the danger.
If you run towards fear, it will start running away. If you run away from fear, it will grow bigger and wilder behind you.
An an entrepreneur, you need to keep testing your emotional boundaries. When you are at the edge of your emotions, your emotional intelligence will grow.
Entrepreneurship is a long journey of breaking the brick walls and expanding your comfort zone. The more the strength you have to experience pain and fear, the faster you will grow.
Your startup will only grow to an extent that you grow. You can grow only by being on the edge of your mental and physical capabilities as a human being. It takes courage to live life on the edge. And it’s addictive. Once you experience life on the edge, you will never go back. Growth will become a way of life.