In a passage from Upanishads, the ancient and sacred texts of Hinduism, the writer proposes this thought about desire:
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“A man whose mind wanders and longs for objects of desire, goes again to life and death according to his desires. But he who possesses the End of all longing, and has found fulfillment, even in this life his desires will fade away.”
In the world of entrepreneurs, desire is the common denominator and truly a powerful force. But what is not common among entrepreneurs is what is desired.
Perhaps there are two kinds of entrepreneurial desire: to accomplish something entrepreneurial and to be an entrepreneur. It’s important to understand the distinction because while both may lead to success, the latter is more likely to provide fulfillment.
Here are examples of desiring to do something entrepreneurial.
- You’re tired of taking orders so you start a business.
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- You start a business as a way to make a living.
- You want to do something specific on your own.
The desire to do something entrepreneurial is akin to longing to be a champion, standing in the victory circle with the trophy and a check. It’s focusing on a result at the finish line.
Clearly there’s nothing wrong with finding yourself in the winner’s circle. But it’s important to understand that all of the above examples are what the Upanishads would call longing for objects of desire. Desiring to do something entrepreneurial is a means to an end.
Those who desire to be an entrepreneur are like Olympic athletes: always knowing that while winning the gold medal is a worthy goal, preparing for and running the race can also provide fulfilment. The Upanishads might say one who desires to be an entrepreneur possesses the end of all longing and will likely find fulfillment.
Doing something entrepreneurial isn’t as risky as it might seem; if you fail you can always go back to being an employee. But being an entrepreneur is not a means to an end; it’s a way of life. Failures are merely setbacks, not the end of an entrepreneurial race. One who desires to be an entrepreneur longs to create as much as to have what is created.
In Sanskrit upanishad means knowledge by which ignorance is destroyed. It’s not for me to say if desiring to be an entrepreneur is better than desiring to do something entrepreneurial. But before you begin your journey make sure you’re not ignorant of the reason for your entrepreneurial desire.
Write this on a rock....
Is your entrepreneurial desire a means to an end or a way of life?
Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning new book, “The Age of the Customer®: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance” www.AgeoftheCustomer.com.
Jim is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship, and founder and president of Small Business Network, Inc. www.SmallBusinessAdvocate.com. He’s the founder and host of the syndicated weekday radio program, “The Small Business Advocate® Show,” where for more than 16 years he has conducted over 1,000 live interviews annually with his “Brain Trust,” the largest community of small business experts in the world.