Today, I want to make the case of why you should start anyway despite the challenges and difficulties in the way. But first, there are two things that I wish to address on the preconceptions that people have about starting any endeavor. The idea that you have to be completely prepared and have all the answers before starting. And the notion that if you are not succeeding at the highest level, then there is no point.
This post is the second of a series I have been writing about entrepreneurship, purpose, and mental health. If you haven’t read the previous post, go ahead and click here to check it out.
Prerequisites to Start
First, let me make something clear. I am by no means an exceptionally gifted person. I don’t have any formal accreditations in business, marketing, entrepreneurship, accounting, or any related areas of expertise that might seem like a prerequisite for entrepreneurship. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a prerequisite; And if there is, you don’t need it.
That also applies to any sort of journey you would like to embark on too. Be it web design, sweater knitter for kittens, or writing blog posts, you don’t need any diploma. As long as the effort and resources you put in end up producing profits and fulfillment, you’re golden.
The Success Mirage
I, too, believed that successful people are successful only because they have access to a particular class of education or preparation —and, in some ways, that is true.
It is a reality that those at the very bottom don’t have access to proper education that would allow them mobility in the social ladder. Thus hardly ever getting to a starting point.
Still, this is more of a systematic flaw of the education system, not a secret knowledge that only the privileged can access.
Nevertheless, in my experience, I have found that once you are capable of understanding the basic concepts of business, have passion for something and that passion can produce something people would pay for, then you have all the tools needed.
The road is unknown, and success is not guaranteed, but you will enroll in the best business school in town, the market.
Classes can be rough, but you are free to attend at your own pace. There are tests every day —multiple in fact— but the lessons will stick with you, and grades will not matter. And the best part is, you will have access to the best teachers in the world, your clients, associates, and the market.
Doing something new and challenging is already enough of a demand to have the pressure to succeed at the highest level.
When we are toddlers, every activity is a new challenge. Standing, walking, grasping, maneuvering our limbs, all these activities that we adults can do without even engaging much of our conscious brain, is uncharted territory for children.
Yet, you don’t see kids contemplating giving up in the face of failure. If they did, we would have an alarming portion of the population incapacitated and unable to function correctly as adults.
No, they go for it. They start anyway.
When a young child stands and attempts her first steps, she embarks on a journey. In that journey, she will fall many times. She will get frustrated, pout, lash out, and even cry; she might even be putting her safety in jeopardy in her attempts if not adequately supervised. Still, she is going to go for it.
Eventually, she will get better and join her parents in this new dimension of mobility and freedom —on to running.
How is she capable of this feat? Why doesn’t she succumb to frustration and the possibility of failure?
The reason is simple. Children engage challenges with play.
This child understands inherently something we have unlearned over the years. We do things to learn and grow, not to succeed and be the best. She is not going to be the best at walking, and she doesn’t want to.
Engage in a Play Mindset
The act of doing something new, facing your limitations, and expanding your toolset is a fundamental skill that has allowed our species to dominate this planet.
The problem is that most of us internalize at some point in our formative years that if we fail, there is something wrong with us.
We believe that if we are not the best at what we do, we are wasting our potential.
This mindset ultimately foments a culture of hierarchies. Encoding a narrow attitude of risk over every endeavor we contemplate participating in.
You might think that that is entirely different than facing the world of people, money, business, and other scary things that might lurk out there. But, in my experience, I have found that that is not really true. Facing a challenge, hitting a wall, failing, learning, trying again and again until you figure it out is a pretty universal exercise.
So embrace the process, tackle the challenges with play, and start anyway.
In the next post, I will address how we internalize the voices of those around us, how that builds self-doubt, and what I have done to deal with it.
Let us know your thoughts and experiences starting something or embarking on a new challenge. We would love to hear from you.
See you in the next one.