I am a trained physician, psychiatrist and a newbie entrepreneur. I’ve to say, bringing an idea to fruition as an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I’ve ever dabbled with.
Yes, I’ve delivered babies, resuscitated the dying and dealt with death in the past. And, I help the saddest of souls now on a daily basis. Yet, the need to take things to the next level- to help thousands at a time, to change the world, to achieve excellence like no one even conceived is the kind of back-breaking narcissistic endeavor only entrepreneurs will pursue.
Yes, you heard right- each one of us entrepreneurs have a narcissistic belief that only we can change the world for the better. That without our ideas, the world is lost. That we must do everything yesterday since, without our idea in the present, everyone is suffering and missing out on the greatest experience of their lives!
And every time things get delayed, a project tanks or a funding source fails, we go to a dark place- depression. This depression is nothing but “narcissistic injury”.
“How could they not understand?” “How can they not work as hard as me?” “How can they not see the future I promise?” “What makes them skeptical of my success?” “Of course this is a selfless deed that requires my time and effort, why doesn’t my family understand?”
These and many other self-centered statements may sound true to all of you who like me are trying to start-up a new company or are trying to take your ideas ahead. Be it Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, they’ve had the same sort of grandiose almost delusional belief that their product will make the world a better place. That they can’t stand the fact that not everyone is using their product right now. For them, since they’ve achieved their vision in many ways, their thoughts no longer seem delusional. That’s because it truly is difficult to imagine the world without Apple or Facebook! But, for every 1 Jobs or Zuckerberg, there are 10,000 similar ideas dead or dying.
I think that without this central narcissism, the entrepreneurial spirit will perish. After all, if the child learning to walk for the first time doesn’t believe that nothing can happen to her, she will be too afraid to take that first step. No bird will ever take first flight. This attitude of indestructible energy and singular focus is the centerpiece of successful startups.
The bitter truth that accompanies the fantasy of entrepreneurial experience is that everyone else we care about, every other activity in our lives, our relationships- are threatened to burn in this fire of change.
Good luck to my entrepreneur brothers and sisters. May your ideas prevail without costing you your loved ones.