This past weekend, I was reading an article regarding the entrepreneur spirit of Elon Musk, who is CEO for SpaceX and Tesla which he shared some fascinating stories about how he started and enveloped his entrepreneur spirit during his early days. In the article, he shared about how he prepared and set himself up for the worst to happen when he first started out. To him, the most important thing is to be able to endure the hardship of having to live off only the basic necessities required, food and accommodation while the rest are sheer luxury to him. Should you be interested to read the full article, you can read them here.
I have always been fascinated by people who ventured on the entrepreneurship journey, the logic behind the thinking, the hardship that they endure, the ideas that they can come up with and the ability to face failure. Entrepreneurship is one of those professions I have most respect in. I used to think that people who embarked on an entrepreneur are idealistic and innovators in nature and you don't need to have much education with you as long as you have those traits. These are no longer the case these days as we've seen many people going against the flow.
Does Going To Schools Set You Up To Fear Failure?
Many of the families in my parent's generation are entrepreneurs. They are not entrepreneurs by choice but nature probably forces them to that direction. You see, back then education was extremely rare and only the wealthy can afford them. Our families started out really poor before my generation was born and my dad did not even completed primary school. There was only one way to go from here: Risk or Lose everything. They didn't even have an equal probability of choices given to make the decision, it was a decision made from nature and they just have to accept it. It turned out to be a very fruitful results in the end, and I was lucky to have the privilege to be born in the new generation where so much more was provided before my eyes.
Some people may argue that the new generations are losing the entrepreneurs spirit because the higher the education they received, the lower the likelihood that one is going to be an entrepreneur. There are some truth in that as we probably will see in a while.
Try thinking back the time while you were in school and the idealistic you were being taught. You would most probably have been trained to fear failure from an early age. In school, getting the "right" answer the first time is the only thing that is being rewarded in our society. Getting a wrong answer is equivalent to a punishment of low grades, extra remedials and contempt from peers and teachers. I remember the days having to memorize the answers from a 10-year series and getting an A while forgetting everything once the exam was ended. I wonder if the education system to date are still being set up this way (will need teachers or tuition teachers bloggers to verify).
12 years of education, years after years of manipulation and all I need was upon graduation, I had lost total interest in entrepreneurship and fear of being "wrong" (failure). During adulthood, the more it becomes difficult to embark an acceptance of failure because failure does not reward you tangible stuff. Sure, you may heard some people say that failure makes you stronger over time but it is not easy to quantify this way. Failure kills you with lower pay, lower comfort and lower acceptance into the society. That's just how the way this society works, whether we like it or not.
The Most Optimistic Entrepreneurs In The World
Could you guess which country boasts the most optimistic entrepreneurs in the world?
Note that this is not based on the actual entrepreneurs figure created but rather the people who are optimistic about the profession in general. Before someone asked regarding how the survey is conducted, I must confess that I do not know though I am more interested in reading the big picture than the small indicators.
If you look across, very few Asian countries made it into the list with the exception of countries like China, which make up a huge number of the population there. Having previously studied in the West for a while, I can really see the huge difference in the form of education that are being promoted between the East and West, not that either is not good, just somewhat different from the expectations they are trying to create.
Maybe the next time you met someone who is an entrepreneurs next to you, ask him or her the factors that drive them towards that direction. You might be in for a surprise.
Failure In Investing
Many people would advocate that failure cannot be taught directly in investing.
We can learn from the past history made and the likelihood is that history would repeat itself at least twice for one to rationalize that the mistakes are real.
I've made countless mistakes in my investing journey and I am learning as we move along. Given the choice, I'd rather picked up those mistakes as early as possible and try my best not to repeat them given that some mistakes are inevitable to avoid.
I've recently had a fear I didn't dare to tell anyone. My fear is now real. The last computed portfolio for the month of Mar is standing at $291,530 and as the size becomes bigger each day, the higher the fear is likely to grow in size. Although I have been through the same fear scenario when my portfolio size was much smaller when I first started out, it is an entirely different scenario right now. I am stepping on a whole new territory and as much as I've tried to understand this fear, I will never know until it really stepped on my toes. I've done a couple of things such as balancing my asset allocation to mitigate some of those fears but there's never going to be a perfect scenarios where everything is patched up nicely.
Maybe I'm just setting up myself to face failure this time or maybe I might underestimate the depth of those fears. I'll never know and neither can you. And maybe once I have experienced the depth of this fear factor, I might just be ready to face an entrepreneurships' role.