“It is true that there is a fine line between entrepreneurship and insanity. Crazy people see and feel things that others don’t. But you have to believe that everything is possible. If you believe it, those around you will believe it too.” Anita Roddick *
Many of my friends think I’m as Mad as a Hatter! I gave up a well paid stable job to pursue hare brained ideas. And I continue to spend ever increasing amounts of money without return. They say, “I just don’t understand.” or “it makes no sense.” Not many people working in comfortable jobs seem to understand. They see only danger and risk. However I don’t see it as risk but as opportunity.
The academics say entrepreneurs don’t see their actions as taking risks. The entrepreneur sees their decisions as calculated judgements. “isn’t it a risk staying in your job year after year” I heard. My more sympathetic friends tell me how brave I am having a startup, especially with a young family. In fact, people have been telling me how ‘Brave’ I am for years. Like when I moved to London OR when I left a well paid job in London to go traveling for a year. “I wish I could do that”. Well you can!! Live your dreams and don’t let fear rule you.
Are entrepreneurs mad or unstable? Is there something more sinister lurking in the mind of startup entrepreneurs? I think not. Insanity, craziness or madness is described in Wikipedia as “the behavior whereby a person flouts societal norms“ and “defective function of mental reasoning”. As Anita Roddick put it so well- “entrepreneurship is about beliveing and seeing things that others don’t.” Its having a dream of how things can be. This is the Successful Product dream Simon, my co-founder and I are chasing with our website monitoring startup:
We dream of building something great! A consultancy service is less risky and brings immediate revenues but has a smaller upside. Whereas the product startup needs more time and has much greater risks but also massive potential rewards.
We can all dream of a brighter and grander future. Martin Luth King had a “dream” which is now coming to fruition. Entrepreneurs see a clear pathway into an uncertain future and are prepared to pursue that dream with vigor and determination. Doubters will only believe in entrepreneurs dream when they see it forming into reality. It just takes time before an idea starts to become real.
A final thought: “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”(Oscar Levant, 1906 – 1972). To truly create we must leave convention, the norm and even reality behind. For a while at least 😉