The Heart That Holds On

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Rules of Thumb, skmurphy, Video

“…cheer up that little heart of yours, master mine, for at the present moment you seem to have got one no bigger than a hazel nut; remember what they say, that a stout heart breaks bad luck…”

Sancho Panza advises Don Quixote to cheer up in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (emphasis added)

The entrepreneurs I have come to see as truly successful are those who are motivated to make a positive difference in the world. You can have a job in a startup, you can become an entrepreneur as a lifestyle choice, you can pursue a career in the VC ecosystem, but I think that entrepreneurship is more properly viewed as a vocation or a calling.

Their desire to effect meaningful change is what sustains entrepreneurs on the emotional roller coaster of a new business and allow them to adjust their means and their goals to take advantage of new information and new opportunities. Working so that one day you can tell everyone to get lost seems unsustainable to me. I think you start from where you are with what you have available to create new value, pulled forward by a vision of what’s possible that you want to help create and take part in.

I don’t think entrepreneurship is sustained by consumption fantasies–what you will buy with your first million–as much as by what’s in your heart and a childlike curiosity toward how the world works and new undiscovered possibilities.

One movie that looks at the spiritual aspects of entrepreneurship in a very down to earth and thoughtful way is “The Call of the Entrepreneur.” It’s available from the Acton Institute and on Amazon:

Here is the trailer:

E. L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.

from Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

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