Does dreaming big build resilience in entrepreneurs
What makes someone want to keep going? We makes them push through all the hardships? Are they just blind to reality and arrogantly stubborn, or do they know something that others don’t?
I love big ideas. The grander the better. I love people that think the impossible and believe that they can make it happen. I’m curious what it is about entrepreneurs that makes them keep going, and what the role of having a dream to pursue, plays in that pursuit.
This article might be somewhat fluffy, after all, what we’re discussing is not based on fact, it’s perhaps purely the opposite, but I strongly believe that it is our dreams and our desire to achieve them that pushes us through whatever our businesses throw at us.
Business is hard, and at some point things will go wrong. The bigger the business, the more things that can wrong at the same time. We all of course have different thresholds for stress, but I do believe that the harder we dream, the more we want something, then the more resistant and resilient we are.
I’m a big fan of Elon Musk, and I love the story of Tesla and Space X. It got to a point where both companies were struggling and he needed to make a choice. Does it put all the money into one company and let the other one die, or does he split the money between them, in which case they both might die. He decided to split the money and put his last $40 million into the two companies. Now sure, most of us don’t have a spare few million knocking around, however let’s bring that down to a more realistic level for a moment. If you have a company that is struggling, and you need to put your last £4000 in to keep your dream alive, would you do it?
I’m a head in the clouds kind of person, I love imagining what things could be, what could be built. If you’re making a decision to put more of your own money into a struggling business, there is of course a question to ask around is the business worth saving, will it survive long term, or will a cash injection purely just extend its life a little bit longer. There is a purely professional business decision to make there, but I know if that was me, I would want to do whatever I could to keep playing, because I believe that I can make it work. Is that naive? Probably. Is it brave? Yes. Is it stupid? Maybe. But if you believe in what you’re doing and you want to keep doing that, then surely saving it is the right decision.
Emotional decisions in business are dangerous, you can ruin a relationship very quickly by reacting too fast in a feat of anger, or fear, or arrogance, however if you love something so much, if it’s the thing that truly makes you happy, in spite of all the hardships and all the stress and all the shit you have to take, then that emotional decision might well be the best decision. Naturally our own circumstances way in to that decision. We all have responsibilities: houses, partners, children, and we need to do what’s best for them, they must come first and so the decision must have some realistic upside, but beyond that, it can only be a somewhat selfish, emotional decision.
For many reading this, who are far more logical than I am, I have no doubt that if you were faced with a failing business, then it would be a good sign to call it a day and look for something new. If that is your thought process and your final decision, I would ask the question, did you love that business enough? Now I’m not saying that you didn’t try you hardest, but what I am saying is this – was that business your true calling, was it a dream you had, or was it something you found yourself doing? A lot of entrepreneurs say that if you just focus on the money, you’ll never truly attain it, that there must be some bigger purpose, some bigger passion that is driving your forward, that let’s the money become a by-product.
There is no right or wrong, better of worse answer to what we’ve talked about here. However, for me personally, I believe that if you truly have a dream, something that you’re willing to spend your whole life pursuing, than that will make you more resilient and help you navigate tough moments. Ultimately every great innovation and leap forward in humanity’s history has come from the ideas, dreams, beliefs and resilience of many men and women who refused to give up.
Thomas Eddison tried and failed over 1000 times to develop the lightbulb, but he persevered and finally did it. With a dream and a belief in yourself, you can do it. No doubt about it.