Nothing in the Universe is Neutral

Ah, entrepreneuring. Productivity. Overcoming struggle. Resilience. Hindsight and the satisfying view of growth. Contentment. Flow. All of that. The road to sustainable joblessness–a/k/a self-employment–is multifaceted and ambiguous. Everyone has their own road that they must take, like a fingerprint. Unique, and no one else’s but theirs. It’s easier for some. Harder for others. And even a lil “maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline,” ya know?

The concept of the entrepreneur these days is still sort of dirty. It’s misunderstood in part from the fact that too many people go into business for the wrong reasons. The only right reason is passion. So “small business owner” has become a synonym for “risk taker.” Starting a business is a risk only if you actually take risks. Starting small and frugally and building prudently is the key to success for most of us. That being said: starting a business is hard, not risky. It’s a marathon and few of us are married to that… marathons with uncertain monetary rewards.

This evening I had an energizing conversation with my cousin, Michael.* Michael is not one of those entrepreneurs-by-choice individuals. He’s a middle-aged unemployed citizen who was laid off from his job. He’s not the only person of his generation suddenly without a job, living on savings alone and trying to start a business as a solution (I know a few people in this situation). It’s dangerous to start a business primarily out of personal financial necessity. Lucky for Michael, he’s an experienced entrepreneur who’s always had the passion for building a business. And lucky for Michael, his subsequent career path was also his passion. These days, he’s combined the two. I’m grateful that our journeys and our struggles have bonded us.

One of the many things we talked about is mindset. Ever hear of monks who can do amazing things through meditation like breathe through one nostril at a time, or stop their heart? Excuse my French, but the mind is some shit. Mindset is VITAL to self-employment. It’s the key to your entitlement as a provider of something worth paying for. It’s the key to keeping negativity and discouragement at bay. It’s the key to pushing forward without outside support and with many obstacles. It’s the key to attracting people to your positive energy. It’s the key to motivation and patience and logic. And anyone can use their mind to be positive and active. All it requires is willingness.

Another thing we talked about is filters and how they change over time. What is irrelevant now can most certainly be life altering later. There’s a lot coming at us every day. When it comes to choosing a life path or starting a business, knowing what to do is daunting and the possibilities seem endless at times. All I can say to this is take the time daily to know thyself and start somewhere. You can’t get to where your going if you’re standing still. In the words of Stewart Emery, “Nothing in the Universe is neutral; it either costs or it contributes.” Don’t ever stand still. Life is too short. 

Is there something holding you back or standing in your way to realizing your dreams? What are some ways you can overcome these outside and/or self-inflicted obstacles? And finally, what are your methods for staying positive??

*The whole time I was thinking of Paul Hawken’s Growing a Business (1988). I highly recommend this book. It addresses just about every stage of a business; it can be read over and over again as your business grows. 
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