Entrepreneurism: The Closest Thing to Being Vampire
Entrepreneurism has become an unfortunately trendy ambition amid the over-hyped buzz of startups. The glamorous life as portrayed on TV and in the biographies that clutter shelves is a far cry from the reality we live. I’m here to challenge your temptation to regard entrepreneurs as superheroes and role models. In reality, the entrepreneur is a different beast altogether.
Being a true entrepreneur is a lonely curse that few understand. In fact, I’d argue that true entrepreneurs are more like vampires than living, breathing people.
The origin story of today’s vampire mythology varies from sorcery in ancient Egypt to curses by the sun god in the Mediterranean, and just as the entrepreneur travels any number of paths to existence, the key traits that define both entrepreneurs and vampires are eerily similar to one another.
Entrepreneurs are fractured, lonely souls in search of wholeness and fulfillment.
Like vampires, entrepreneurs are both immortal and mortal often at the same time. At the highest peaks, entrepreneurs feel virtually invincible. Then at their lowest, they are constantly left empty, alone, and utterly mortal while forever searching.
The lonely existence of an entrepreneur is often explained away by the gruelling hours required to build a business from the ground up. But the prescription of self-worth to work leaves their happiness at the mercy of their own relentless toiling.
Just as the vampire finds no solace in the soul they no longer have, the entrepreneur must continuously strive for fulfillment, always one deal out of reach or one more accomplishment still yearning to acquire. It’s not sexy or fun as it’s portrayed in pop culture and online puff pieces. It is an exhausting uphill sprint through the mud every day. No payoff ever satisfies. No amount of success or money puts out the insatiable fire and quenches that eternal thirst for fulfillment.
Entrepreneurs are often described as “fearless,” or as a “risk-taker.” In reality, they are fearful, borderline terrified individuals.
Put well by the Harvard Business Review, “serial entrepreneurs’ greater propensity to remain over optimistic may be due in part to the deep pain, even trauma, they feel when their projects fail.”
Entrepreneurs are not carefree, fearless risk-takers. Each risk taken is meticulously mapped out and carefully calculated. Entrepreneurs are not driven by goals of everlasting success but rather out of a crippling fear of failure. The value of planning “is driven by the possibility of avoiding failures.”
While the vampire exists in fear of the light and is constantly haunted by its prospect, so to the entrepreneur hides from failure because true entrepreneurs will not welcome failure but be eternally burned from the experience and carry it with them until the end of their days.
It is believed that the reflection of mirror is the image of the body and the soul.
The vampire, having no soul, has no reflection. Entrepreneurs, too, cannot truly see themselves in the mirror. They rely on the view of themselves through the eyes and reactions of others or in the reality distortion fields they create. The ego, then, is their mechanism of defense against their own self-deprecation.
Constantly motivated by power, the entrepreneur continuously seeks recognition and influence, driven by a constant need for increasing prestige and status that will exist far beyond their own life and giving them the unattainable immortality they seek.
Entrepreneurs like vampires are obsessed with the pursuit of youth and some semblance of immortality, be it via the latest in neutropics, the singularity, or just their seemingly lasting importance beyond their days. They feed on momentum and the energy of others and those who they work with or for them, just as the vampire seeks the living blood of others as their own driving life-source.
If it sounds crazy, it might well be. Just as vampires are more than men with strange sleeping habits, entrepreneurs are more than non-conformists. They are mildly sociopathic — maybe just one genetic variation away from full-blown sociopaths.
While the coffin-residing, blood-sucking, night-dwelling vampires we know so well will remain creatures of myth, you’ll find their real-life entrepreneurial counterpart in the Hills and Valleys all around us.