I read an inspirational story somewhere that I would like to share for everyone’s benefit:
As I was passing by the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not.
I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.
“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?
Moral of the Story: Try, try and try again, until you succeed
Most people project their confidence and charisma through their posture, the way they walk, their ease of communication, their choice of words and most importantly, their eyes.
I happened to bump into an old employee of a corporation earlier in the day who had been asked to leave as a result of corporate restructuring. Having spent a total of 37 years in service, I could clearly see the fear in his eyes when he told me his story; he insisted, “I still had 5 years of service left.” I imagine this person was serving in the lower hierarchy of the company and wanted to desperately meet someone who could change his fate and let him continue for another 5 years.
It’s strange how people give in to fear to let others decide their fate, but it is human nature, isn’t it? I have seen many businessmen go through their dips in life, but rarely do I see that fear in their eyes even in the worst of conditions.
It all has to do with an attitude in life, not with the state of affairs afterall, I conclude.
Life comes with a great deal of variety: variety of people, places, things, activities, etc. etc. and sometimes it is mind boggling how attached one becomes to certain things or people that it’s very difficult to let go. In businesses as well, there are instances where founders or product innovators or brand managers have seen their company/product grow over the years and face the different winds of all the different seasons. It is these ups-and-downs that make the person so much attached to the product that he cannot imagine letting it go, even after the product lifecycle is far beyond over.
Unlike life, businesses need emotions to the extent they push overall growth and in some circumstances, the only option is to let go of the product. To sum up, for life’s major decisions, one should mostly think beyond brains and for business’ major decisions, one should always think with brains!
What is the level of disclosure by companies that would be considered enough? Does Steve Jobs of Apple need to tell everyone and all his investors updated on his health and his indefinite medical leave on Martin Luther King’s day? Is that fair to investors who have the right to know all material information about the company’s affairs? Is that fair to Steve Jobs who has a private life too?
I feel Jobs’ case is different in the sense that this company would founded by him and again given another spirit while it was almost bankrupt back in 1997. Knowing it’s the second highest valued corporation after Exxon Mobil and the level of involvement Jobs has had to all the projects not only as a manager or an administrator, but also as an engineer and passionate lover of ideas and inspiration, investors associate the company’s innovation and success with Steve Jobs’ presence too. Ebullience and grim mood are all the various faces of the market, but investors as a whole feel that it’s not the Apple Corporation as an entity only, but the mix of Jobs’ innovation and spirit with the company’s team that is the hidden recipe behind the company’s success so far. So then, in one way, investors are rightful in being nervous on hearing of this indefinite leave.
Disclosures should be fair, transparent and in plain language. It should communicate everything important and material to the case in hand, and Steve Jobs’ health is one of those material information in Apple’s case.
Entrepreneurship is a combination of three core things (however, please note that it’s not a recipe mix that will always bring out a great entrepreneur – it’s rather more like a perspective of looking at this concept encompassing various aspects of entrepreneurship):
Personality: Includes upbringing of a person, confidence, interpersonal skills, ability to think on the feet and solve issues all the time.
Opportunity: This is the break that one gets to have. Most people I know who are curious to become an entrepreneur seem to be waiting for this perpetually. I don’t think there’s anything such as a big break. Life keeps giving you opportunities all the time, and you can only make good anyone of them if you are ready to. Moreover, an opportunity could be an opportunity for you because of your experience or academic background or interest in a particular domain.
Risk: This is the most interesting part of entrepreneurship. It’s an entrepreneur’s second nature. Risk doesn’t mean going wild with your whims, but actually refers to calculated risks an entrepreneur has to take all the time.
But even with these three, there’s one thing that must be very clear in any business opportunity. That thing is summed up in this one question: “What’s the deal?”
Deal: is all about identifying the core of any business opportunity. It is difficult to focus on this and identify what’s the real deal in a business, but with time, good entrepreneurs command this almost instinctively. I’ll be writing more about “Deals” and deal-making in the coming weeks.
Some renowned psychologist, Dr. Dorothy Rowe, said Angelina Jolie’s behavior would lead to her child’s insecure adulthood. Are you really serious? I mean, yes, it came as a shock to the poor fellow but it is all right to be shocked every once in a while. Look at it this way, the lad’s mother just taught her an important lesson in life: Don’t always believe what you see. This could be life-changing for sure, but in a positive way perhaps.
I remember we were taught at how statisticians sometimes fall prey to the trap of linking correlated data as being a case of causality, meaning to say that not always do correlations imply causal relationships. This is one such case where there could possibly be such an affirmation based on correlations but being insecure has a lot more to do with the overall upbringing and individual personality, not only with one incident such as this one.
More than anything else, the news item resembles a PR gimmick for the book of this “distinguished” author. Marketing practitioners often quote “there is nothing such as bad publicity” and this article seems to be following suit to that idea.
I would, however, credit Tim Walker for the interestingly curious title to the article. I clicked it saying “what shit!?” but the point is I clicked.
When I was young, I was just too afraid of heights. I was scared of falling down even from the first floor where our classes used to be. I always felt relieved when I placed my feet on ground, thinking that I won’t fall. It took me a while to realize that not facing your fears in one of the worst things that can be done. It only worsens the situation, making you feel you cannot do something as simple as not being afraid of falling down of the 1st floor of a building!
How does one get rid of a fear? Simple. Face it. Once you come into contact with that fear head on, you can be sure you are going to see the height of that fear. I remember my trembling legs trying to see things from such height. However, as soon as I saw it through and noticed nothing wrong happened to me, I was a bit relieved. Over time, I got rid of the fear out of myself.
People are usually afraid of something, the most common fears are: height, darkness, closed spaces, losing your loved ones, losing your reputation, failure and death. I am going to focus on the same philosophy for most of the fears, not all of course (I don’t expect you to lose your loved ones to lose that fear).
The Fear of Failure makes a very compelling case of why you should fail. Once you fail, you learn lot of things if you have a positive frame of mind. As the saying goes “Anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” You should not plan to fail, but make sure you keep that as a healthy alternative. Most people give up when they are really close to success. Why? Because they inhibit their fear of failure. In no time, they get overwhelmed by the same fears and end up losing hope. If on the other hand, they face the challenge with a positive frame of mind thinking things would turn out to be good either ways and that in the larger scheme of things, one small incident doesn’t really matter too much, they would be far more likely to get successful sooner and be happy too.
- Try to identify your fears.
- Put yourself into situations where you have to face those fears, feeling that you will go through it and this is just a state of mind more than anything else.
- Reward yourself when you face your fear – even a small reward such as a cup of coffee would do, but make sure you reward yourself.