An addiction, a habit, a mindset but most importantly a lifestyle.
As you’re lying in your bed, your better half sleeping next to you, you’re working on that last part of your business’ financial plan, you should’ve finished yesterday. As you’re doing your job, in an ecstatic flow you look at the time, and see it’s 1:00 a.m. and you ask the question, “Is this normal, but more importantly is this healthy”?
As a medical student/startupper, I know this feeling quite well, I feel it every day. It’s Easter Sunday, and I’m working while everyone else is doing something with their friends and family.
When I started business, I remember going to that first meeting, I remember every piece of it. The place, the people, my thoughts. I remember saying to myself, “This is it, I’m all committed to this now. I spoke with people, and I must do it now. I took the responsibility.”
Looking back a year and a half later after having some real experience, it is kind of funny, that boy going to that meeting, thinking that’s responsibility.
If it’s so obvious, that this lifestyle is somewhat dangerous, why can’t we just stop doing it?
#1 It’s a drug, more addictive than cocaine, heroin and all the others put together because it’s something most of us don’t have.
I have a friend, whom I’ll call Andrew for now. Andrew is a great kid, everyone loves him, but he is always complaining about things. He usually says, “A lot of things happened to me.” We all know these Andrews right? They’re out there drifting into oblivion, while they control no part of their lives, and so yeah things just happen to them.
In today’s world, being in control, handling your life is the drug our generation truly craves for. Not daddy’s money and a nice car, but control.
Having your business — even though it is many times frustrating — is the control you inject into your veins the moment you wake up. Like an addict, you start every day thinking of the stuff, the things you do, the people, the money, the overwhelming amount of information you try to keep in mind. But, as long as you can control things, you feel like this eight-handed juggler that can even put a cheeky smile on, while everyone else is struggling with the drifting, and despair.
#2 The lottery effect
Never really understood why people buy lottery tickets, my parents do it all the time, but never won anything big. People have a good point when they say a startup is just the same. This part of our brain manipulates us to do great things, and the reward system is so well tuned, it makes people discover a new continent or another planet where there’s no atmosphere, and the possibility of dying is huge.
With the lottery, it’s pure luck, but on other occasions, the rewards exceed the risks so highly that the right mix of 99.99% luck, and that 0.01% I can do it makes it feel possible.
First, because we believe that someone can be lucky, and second because we rarely learn from other people’s mistakes.
#3 Being right
“If not for money, why would you do this thing?”
People are ready to die for several things like love, patriotism, but I think the most memorable deaths in the history of mankind were the ones, where people chose their principles, instead of their lives (not you Galileo, you coward). Being right is so deeply connected to our personality, that we’d rather die than accept the alternatives. When you start a business, a lot of people will tell you things like “It’s a bad idea, go for a safe life”, “It’s too risky”, “It’s not innovative” and stuff like that. Now I don’t know what others feel in these moments, but I instantly have this urge to prove them wrong. Maybe it’s just here in Hungary, but greatness hadn’t really had its prime in this country, so people don’t believe in anything, that wants to grow into a global business.
#4 Because you need something, to wake up for every single day
I am not here, to preach the meaning of life, simply because I don’t believe there is a meaning to it. Even though I acknowledge it, this can’t be the mindset to live with. Therefore a better approach to this is:
that your life means as much as the responsibilities you dare to take.
Those people feeling drifting in the nihil of life, don’t realize, that they can’t find the meaning in their life because they lack the responsibilities associated. There are numerous advantages of having responsibilities besides exerting pressure on an individual. They instill your everyday activities with joy, excitement and even fear because, you know that the things you do matter, and that they have an effect. That will be the thing pulling you from the bed every day, keeping you up at night writing your story, because you know that if you take the responsibility, you’ll find the meaning. Success and money will only be consequences of your actions, not the goals themselves.
So bear in mind: meaning is what drives successful people, that’s the thing filling your soulless body with passion, with purpose, with life.
This was the first chapter of a series from Matt from the team Cogito, a young startupper team from Hungary. Keep tuned in to see what’s coming up next week.