“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”
— Napoleon Hill
You start feeling physical symptoms. A tightening around your chest. A deep sense of dread that shakes you to your core. A physical aversion to facing that office door & walking in to face another day. One of nothingness, one that blurs into all the others, one that numbs you.
You start to become ill. Depressed. Angered by it.
You’ve finally reached that point where a burning need to quit your job or start a business emerges. Not doing it is just no longer an option.
Without this burning need, however, you must accept that you are not ready. Without it, it’s too easy to give up. You’ll hit your first bump in the road & hastily retreat.
Entrepreneurship is fraught with fear, uncertainty & no guarantee of success. You can put your heart & soul into something for years & come out of it with your self-confidence shot through, no money in the bank & an endless list of ‘what ifs’.
So you need that burning need as a constant companion. There are too many reasons to give up otherwise. Too many excuses you can rationally make. Too many people saying you are wrong. Too many unknowns for fear to not overwhelm you.
Think of dieting. Of alcoholism. Of drug addiction. People don’t change until they hit rock bottom. Until they hit rock bottom it just hasn’t got bad enough. The temptation to treat yourself ‘just this once’ becomes too great.
You could have the best diet plan ever, the best trainer, & a mountain of evidence to support how & why you need to lose weight. But, until you internalise that ‘why’ to such a deep level that you see no alternative, you’ll give up.
Peer-reviewed studies, for example, suggest that , the most popular addiction recovery programme in the world, is only 5-10%.
Unless that burning thirst to change is unquenchable, then just don’t bother starting.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness” — William Hutchison Murray
My Rock Bottom
I reached rock bottom three months ago. I hated my job. I lacked purpose. I was miserable. I felt myself getting sucked into the tired cycle of 9-5, with to allow myself to ignore the dread & the ever-present question:
“Is this it?”
So I started waking up early. I gave up going out. I gave up on a lot of my social life. I avoided any extra work in my day job.
I discovered a burning need – an obsession even – to dedicate all of my limited resources to finding a solution to the problem. To find a clear purpose & focus all of my attention on it. To avoid the trap of busying myself to feel like I was doing something productive. To put in the work to write 30 articles in 30 days, whilst always knowing only 1 or 2 may hold the answer.
For me it was not dramatic. There was no storming out of the office, resignation letter in hand. No snap decision without rationalisation.
My plan would take months, but each day I was dedicated to constantly moving one small step closer to it.
Each day took me towards leaving an unfulfilling job, towards the relative freedom of freelancing & building our business, , in order to help others in similar situations take action.
You are not ready
If you do not feel the pull of entrepreneurship as a need, but merely an interest – something you want to dabble in, to test out just to see if you can do it – then you are not ready.
And I say ‘not ready’ very deliberately.
Deep down we all desire freedom. It is a fundamental concept underpinning . The freedom to not worry about paying off a mortgage. The freedom to buy that new car. The freedom to travel the world. The freedom to take a Tuesday afternoon off to catch up with an old friend. Freedom from oppression. From society. From doing things we just don’t want to do.
A corporation takes that freedom from you. It impinges upon you. It takes from you.
Everyone has that desire to gain their freedom somewhere within them. In a capitalist society, that freedom of – or at least control over – time & money comes from entrepreneurship.
Therefore the question is not about whether you are the type of person that is an ‘entrepreneur’, but, rather, whether that burning need to act upon your thoughts is strong enough. Or will , fear of change & fear of failure get in the way?
Ask yourself, are you more scared of waking up one day, old, unsatisfied, having never tried?
Or are you more scared about what people will think when you leave your job? Of needing to cut down your spending when your company is struggling? Of not boasting about your new promotion at the next office party?
If you are scared of the latter, then ask yourself another question:
“Who is living your life? Society? Your friends? Your family? Or yourself?”
You know the answer. Yet you will convince yourself you are happy. That your corporate job has created a beautiful, fulfilling life for yourself. I mean, if everyone else is doing it, then surely it’s the answer?
To that I would say look yourself in the mirror. Can you honestly say to yourself that you are happy? That this is what you want to do with your life? Your only chance to live new experiences, to try new things?
It’s OK to be scared. Everyone is. Starting something new, going against the current. All of it is scary. But what should really terrify you is having never tried.
Make yourself ready
Very few of us ever become ready. The truth is that you will never be ready. It’s all going to be new & unknown. You’ll constantly need to learn new skills. To learn how to face known – and unknown – fears.
But you can cultivate that burning need.
Who are you hanging out with? What do they talk about? Are they really happy? What are their ambitions? Their goals?
If you haven’t felt the burning need to change now, then part of the problem is them.
The type of people that accept the norm, that shy away from difficult conversations, that are unsupportive of your ideas. They are people to avoid. They will only drag you down.
If the law of averages holds true, then , so think carefully about who you want to become & what average you are willing to be.
If your friends work unfulfilling, corporation jobs, then you are likely to work an unfulfilling, corporate job. If your friends talk about buying a new car, then you will talk about buying a new car.
If, on the other hand, you surround yourself by some of the world’s best entrepreneurs & thinkers, then it’s a fair to assume that you will start pushing yourself a lot more in life.
So surround yourself with 5 interesting people doing interesting things. People who constantly strive to push themselves. To try new things. To be idealistic. To become empowered.
You’ll find yourself in conversations about life. About what the point of it is. About whether there’s a point. About crypto-currencies. About technology. About change.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
You will start to develop ideas. To question things you never questioned before. To develop ambition & idealism.
You will find that a subtle momentum starts to build. Quietly at first. Then almost tangible.
Your interest will be peaked by something. You will start to develop an idea. Most tend to be crushed in infancy, but your friends will encourage it & develop that idea with you.
It will start as a small flame, but you will feel that burning desire to pursue that idea. You will start talking about it, reading voraciously, obsessively thinking about it.
And one day you will stop & think back to this article. It will have hit you. You never even saw it coming. That burning need to change.