A FEW MONTHS AGO in March, I was at the Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin. It is a new and exciting international programme aimed at empowering young entrepreneurs and innovators to come up with new entrepreneurial ideas.
If you go over there and take a look at how many young entrepreneurs present their ideas and projects to an international audience, well, you will stop believing the fatuous jingle of those who say that most of people aren’t cut out to run businesses.
I am one who went down the entrepreneurial path many years ago. I’m always interested in fresh ideas, I admire people who want to do something different with their life, instead of choosing a single path and remaining blindly committed to it, so I met a lot of young entrepreneurs and exchanged opinions. I love to know what the view of the young people is, and why they want to become entrepreneurs.
I stopped to talk for a bit to one of the young organizers. This is, more or less, what he told me:
“You know, we want to create Things, we have passion, we want to remain masters of our destiny. Why should we work on the agenda of someone else? And besides, it’s increasingly becoming difficult looking for a job that is really rewarding, and creates space for imagination and talent. We want to create space for entrepreneurship. Most of us know that working for others means ending up in the cubicle farm… like sheeps, and doing exactly everything they tell you to, and that crushes the people’s personality. Things are working differently now. Things have changed since my father’s time. Now if you want a salary, you must perfectly fit their picture, word by word. They use software to select people”
“Well, you might say that the job market is a very competitive one, and companies are flooded with a huge number of CVs, so they need machines to shortlist people. I can very well understand that companies practically have to use such a procedure given the large number of applications… fine, but where is your agenda in this kind of forced collective identification? Where are you, as a person, your true self in all of this? To me, it seems as if you need to shed your skin in order to fit in. To adhere to the agenda of someone else. And this has nothing to do with entrepreneurialism and talent”
“Not to mention the fact that it is clear that the positions are few, most of them are in knowledge-intensive areas and the people applying many. The companies themselves can’t handle all the applicants, and do not actually need a lot of people. Most of them are inward-looking organizations”
“There’s a whole industry which says all the time how to adapt your resume… how to use words, how to change, modify, and so on… to suit the job you’re applying for… and the more you adapt your resume, the more you wish you can just get your foot in the door… I think the whole thing is nothing but a talking shop that too often produce little more than hot air”
“Look around and all you see is a huge number of people who try to create an idealized portrait of themselves with the ultimate aim of impressing an employer and getting a job”
“Does that sound to you like something that makes sense?”
“We are not like some models trying out for a commercial. Some of us are real talents and want to find another way to go…We don’t want to homologate to the status quo… We want to become real leaders, not pencil pushers, and there are many of us who think the same. It isimportant for us to have a creative outlet.That’s why we are here.Because that is where entrepreneurship really starts, and nothing in this world is impossible, when heart and mind are put towards it…”
“Yes, you are right” I said, “it doesn’t make any sense. I think the greatest weapon we have in life is just the richness of our Authenticity, our Uniqueness, our Passion”
“That’s what we can’t see these days…“
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what that young guy told me. And yet, the words spoken by him are still ringing in my ears. I think he was right. In my view, this kind of standardized attitude is somewhat worrying. It is worrying not only because it depersonalizes people, and doesn’t promote the emergence of Talent, but for the simple reason that preconditions are no longer present these days. It reminds me so much of Charlie Chaplin in “Modern Times”, who struggled to survive in the modern, industrialized world.
Times have changed a lot, and everything changes just too fast. The “comforting” theorem, which stated that you join a company and work there, climbing the ladder your whole life is no longer applicable. Such is the reality of the situation today. There’s no point in denying it. We have now reached a paradoxical situation where you need your competence, your creativity, and your qualities more than companies do.
Let’s stroll down memory lane; let’s remember the way we were in the past. A huge number of people who looked for their life, and pulled a lot of businesses out of their hat, with inventiveness, dedication and hard work. Entrepreneurial spirit, yes, that is its name.
Take America, for instance. That entrepreneurial spirit, was, is and will be, the beating heart, the driving force of America, to name but one glaring example.
These days, for various reasons, we’ve almost gotten back to that point. And we should take the example of how America has grown over the last two centuries. What was their main growth engine? People and their Entrepreneurial spirit!
It’s only that the situation now is on a global scale. I might be wrong, but I think that many should step up, and many of them will, and not just because we are on the brink of at least one big social and business change, but also because entrepreneurship is a matter of survival today.
Sooner or later, I think sooner than later, more people will be compelled, a way or another, to become masters of their own life, and seek work that embraces their entrepreneurial and creative spirit as well as their passions, because the “salary” life, for an increasing number of reasons, no longer holds water. The game is: to survive. Entrepreneurial mindset is, by and by, becoming our basic survival skill, as it once was.
“It’s really an entrepreneurial world now“
Don’t listen to the siren voices that are stamping out your creativity, and imagination. Where does it say in the rulebook that you have to stay in the cubicle? Creativity, along with the highest virtues fulfilling humanness, is the finest expression of the human soul.
“If you have the necessary qualities and courage, find the entrepreneurial spirit inside yourself, ignore the naysayers, surround yourself with smart people, and move on!“
Successful entrepreneurship needs careful considerations and very smart people to succeed, but it’s not rocket science. It’s not a myth. Entrepreneurs are not different from other people.
As things now stand, I think that we will succeed in building a new economy on the back of vigorous entrepreneurialism. As it once was.
Many things change all the time, but one element remains constant regardless of time: our central role as human beings, individually and collectively, and our natural tendency and need to explore, to learn and make sense of the world around us, in order to discover new opportunities for a healthier and happier life, and maybe to help others as well…
So let’s do that… I’ve done it already, and I am gonna do my share once again….
What about You? What do you think?