A Good Entrepreneur Is A Slave To His Work, A Great Entrepreneur Is A Master

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Sometimes what you’ve been getting is exactly what you want, but other times, repetitive results can be very costly. Let’s talk for a moment about my fictional friend, Steve.

Steve may work his whole life, scraping his arms and bruising his knees as he claws his way to the top. The only thing on his mind is that feeling he’ll get when he beats the odds.

That feeling he’ll embody when all of his greatest desires, wants, emotions and needs have come to fruition.

That feeling he’ll achieve when he finally reaches the peak -- where he’ll stand still, take a moment to recall the struggles and obstacles he has overcome, then have another, more pronounced moment to take a deep breath of the air he has worked so hard to attain, the air of accomplishment.

Steve has a fiery, unquenchable desire to make the American Dream his personal reality.

So, Steve throws caution to the wind and he takes the plunge. He works his ass off. Relationships are no longer important.

Food is no longer a pleasure; it is now simply a necessity. When he goes out for a walk, his surroundings don’t look the same as they used to.

His senses are dulled because his entire brain space is occupied by the notion that he may one day materialize his momentous idea. He is making big sacrifices. And at the cost of his excruciatingly hard work, unwavering efforts, his time and (probably) his sanity, he finally makes it.

He makes it, and he makes it big. The world is no longer the same for Steve because he has now finally accomplished his greatest desire.

He didn’t let fate decide for him; he created his own fate. So now he’s sitting pretty at the top without a care in the world. “Look at what I did,” he’ll say to himself.

And with one fell swoop, a bigger, better, newer company will come in, take the reins of the market, and push Steve out of the picture without any remorse.

Steve will do nothing, and will die with the exorbitantly heavy weight of his lost hopes and crushed dreams resting painfully upon his heart.

So where did Steve go wrong?

Steve had his blinders on. He didn’t care what was going on around him. He didn’t care about living a happy life and simultaneously building his business. He didn’t care about anything but the end result. Steve wasn’t present in the moment.

Rather, he was buried in the future. Buried not just by his business idea, but also by his own misaligned ideals. Steve was a static man living in a changing world, and as such, he was doomed for failure.

Not only in business, but also in life, it is important to be able to see the big picture. It’s important to notice trends, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings, it’s important to put your best foot forward, but most paramount of all, it is important to be flexible.

Steve, prior to his unfortunate death, may have cursed the big company, saying how they don’t deserve what he has worked so hard for. He may put the blame on the market, the situation, the consumers, or any other external factor. But the truth is, Steve is the only one to blame for his situation.

The true key to success is to enjoy the process that leads up to it. Once you take your eyes off the magic eight-ball and start to focus on the things you love about your work, you’ll not only be happier with yourself, but you’ll also be more attuned to your surroundings.

If any budding entrepreneurs care to be successful, they need to take things day-by-day. They need to take a moment to look around them, notice what’s new, notice what’s the same and notice what’s changing.

They need to be adaptive, creative and innovative. The world is full of idiots, but as the dumb get dumber, the smart only get smarter. There will always be that up-and-coming company lurking behind your shoulder, just waiting for the right moment to pounce and destroy what you’ve worked so hard for.

And that’s just nature -- the nature of business, the nature of the animal kingdom, the nature of life. It is solely the entrepreneur’s responsibility to rise against the storm and ensure his own survival. So, if I could say one thing to Steve, I’d tell him this:

Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Photo credit: Jockum Nordström