A positive fear

A positive fear

In one of a speech, Steve job used slangs like “Stay hungry stay foolish” and “Connect the dots”.  It inspired many people, especially Rashmi Bansal. Young talented author has written a couple of books with same titles, these books have stories of successful Indian entrepreneurs (most of us have read this book, if you haven’t, go get a copy, it is a must-read for an entrepreneur aspirant).

A known striking difference in these two books is – ‘Stay hungry Stay foolish’ is about stories of successful entrepreneurs from IIMs and ‘Connect the dot’ is about entrepreneurs without any formal management study (in some cases without even higher study).

If you closely observe stories of two books, you will find a pattern (unknown, still striking difference) – In all the stories of IIM grades, they were doing good in their careers, then took an entrepreneur route, where they either failed in first or second attempt or were about to close their venture at multiple junctures. But, ultimately they were able to overcome all failures and became successful.   The common thing is none of them was successful in the first attempt.    

In connecting the dots, uneducated (read management study) individuals, mostly from financially week background, endeavoured into the world of business, mostly into unplanned & opportunity based venture and became successful.   All of them got success in their first attempt.

A very interesting pattern it is, people form IIMs failed multiple times before they tasted success, while people from the ground, struggled and succeeded in first go.  Why so?  Is it the management study or unplanned approach?  What is the reason?   Of course none of them, planning is the essence of success and IIMs are one of the best places to learn about business/entrepreneurship, no doubt about it. Then what is behind this pattern?

So, I observe more closely and read most-of stories again.  Grades from IIMs were doing well in their job, they started the venture as more of a dream chase then necessity, with a feeling of security (either from savings or out of strong resume) that if failed, they can return back to the original.   Here word “Risk” was more of a jargon, they never felt it (where is the risk, if you can go back?)

While the other set of people started ventures as their means to meet two meals of the day.  There was no risk around, but no alternate ways either (where is the risk, if you are not doing anything?).   The only way to live for them was being successful, they cannot afford failure.    Their constant companion was a fear, a very positive fear.

If you venture with the feeling that ‘this or nothing’ (if I failed, my life is ruined) success will be around (what can be another possibility, if there is no alternative?).    A positive fear is a must.

There is a thin line difference between positive fear and depression, so does between failure and success.

By: Vivek Sinha | karanvivek@gmail.com

facebook/karanvivek | linkedin/karanvivek | @karanvivek | about.me/karanvivek

Originally published in StartupTimes | republishing here with due permission

2 thoughts on “A positive fear

  1. I agree to your view gentleman and would like to add few words here.

    With respect to an educated MBA grad fails and uneducated does not: An educated person calculate a risk qualitatively and quantitatively and so they take very calculative risk. They try to transfer / push risks as much as they can. Where as the other group has nothing to loose even if they fail.

    1. Hi Prabhat, thanks for your view.

      The article is not undermining ability and structured thinking approach of an MBA grad. But sometimes (in some cases), there are over thinking then doing… and often, failing fast yield better outcome then over thinking. At times, when there is questions of survivals, people tend to pivot their approach much quicker and that leads to success.

      There is fine line between calculated risk and failing fast (quick pivot); and identifying & knowing this distance, differentiate entrepreneur from managers.

      Once again thanks for your comment and starting an intellectual discussion.

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