I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost
In her TEDxConcordia 2011 presentation “The Unclear Path,” Tara Hunt discussed the challenges of being an entrepreneur – and the unbreakable spirit entrepreneurs must possess to face and conquer seemingly insurmountable odds.
According to Hunt, true entrepreneurs are “all in.” It’s less of an employment status and more of a mindset. Entrepreneurs eat, sleep, and breathe their dream. They pour every minute of every day into making their business survive and succeed because if they don’t, they will go “stark raving mad,” as she puts it.
“I don’t believe that entrepreneurs can be made,” Hunt said. “It’s not something that can be learned. Sure, you can learn how to run a business. You can learn sales. You can learn operations and coding and everything that goes on behind the scenes. But what you cannot learn are those fundamental and innate characteristics that prepare you for the roller coaster of the unclear path.”
The three fundamental characteristics to which she refers are:
- Delusion – In pursuing her dreams, Hunt said she’s faced years of her parents regarding her with a questioning look of concern because they regard the world so differently. Nevertheless, when Hunt found others – by the hundreds and then thousands – who likewise had different perspectives on the world, she began to soar and to feel comfortable in her own skin. There’s much merit to staying true to your desires, even if you have to face doubts from strangers and loved ones alike.
- Desire to change the status quo – Entrepreneurs dream big dreams, wanting nothing less than to change the world around them, to pioneer a way to make life better. Exactly what the end goal is may shift along the journey, according to a study by INC Magazine. This inevitably leads to unpredictable outcomes, the natural consequence of pioneering uncharted waters. “Instead of nailing down a clear goal and barreling towards it, entrepreneurs ask questions that lead them towards answers,” Hunt said.
- Sheer and utter audacity – the ability to take risks and the arrogance to believe you can. In her presentation, Hunt quoted the Apple Think Different campaign: “Here is to the crazy ones. The misfits. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”
“At the end of the day, entrepreneurs choose an unclear path not sanctioned by mainstream society,” Hunt said. “We need to be delusional, audacious people with big dreams just to carve out a life in a world we don’t ‘fit’… because no matter what, the unclear path is the only one we can rock.”