Being an entrepreneur isn’t just a career choice, it’s a way of life. Most people quit after facing repeated failure and constant challenge. But for a true entrepreneur, that’s not even an option. Their passion, persistence and absolute refusal to give up on a vision keep them moving forward, even when logic and common sense tell them otherwise.
Writing on his blog, Way of the Duck, serial entrepreneur Buster Benson describes the Zen-like motivation that keeps him striving for new ventures. In his recent post, “A duck bears no grudges,” Benson lists the many web startups he’s created, with varying degrees of success, and explains why he plans to “keep throwing myself against the wall of technology and behavior change and making life better until something gives.” Benson’s thoughts about his sleep-when-I’m-dead mentality and his conviction that the journey is better than any predetermined destination are a must-read for anyone going through an existential entrepreneurial crisis.
Compensation is another powerful incentive, but it’s hardly the prime directive for entrepreneurs. Consider this telling example: Back in 1993, when Apple was finding its way in the wilderness during Steve Jobs’ 10-year absence, a programmer named Ron Avitzur was working on a graphic calculator project for the company’s new PowerPC release. Before he was finished, however, the project was scrapped. Avitzur refused to let little things like cancellation and unemployment stop him from fulfilling his destiny. In this exciting Mental Floss article, read about Avitzur’s 007 tactics used to sneak past the guards at Apple and complete his work—it’s sure to induce a Tolkeinesque shiver in computer geeks everywhere.
Another option to the stealth worker, work-without-pay approach is to alter your physical reality to such an extent that you change your mentality. Thorin Koslowski, a contributor to the Lifehacker blog, writes about a twist on the “fake it till you make it” strategy: Act as if You’re a Certain Type of Person to Become that Person. Citing research made by psychology professor Richard Wiseman in The Guardian, Koslowski says positive actions are more effective than mere positive thoughts. He describes some simple behaviors (clenching a fist, adopting a confident stance) to help convince yourself of your own motivation. What other Jedi mind tricks would you add to Koslowski’s list of positive actions?
Of course, to maintain your focus through the roller-coaster ride of entrepreneurship, you also have to dearly love your product—even after death do you part. Perhaps the quintessential example is the story of Dr. Frederic J. Baur, inventor of the Pringles potato chip can and hero to all college students with the munchies. Baur became a legend at Procter & Gamble for his innovation of stacking uniformly sized chips in a sturdy cardboard tube, thus reducing breakage. As a Today I Found Out writer revealed, upon Baur’s passing in 2008, just shy of 90 years old, his family fulfilled his final request that his signature tubular creation eternally protect him on his journey to the next world. Now that is an uncanny commitment.
How many other entrepreneurs do you know who are as dedicated to their vision as Baur? Let us know!