Crazy Bad Advice

Apr 7, 2015
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This post is directed at the small fraction of people that are crazy enough to attempt what conventional wisdom says is impossible.

You know who you are.

Your professional life is on the right track. if you keep your head down and don’t rebel too much, you will gradually work your way up the corporate ladder. You will have a CDI or equivalent (indefinite term employment), a dependable monthly paycheck, and a healthy dose of vacation days.

You may even have the “right pedigree”, which in France means a diploma from the right school.

However, you know deep down inside that something is missing. You cannot quite put your finger on it, but you realize that your time on this earth is finite, and you want to accomplish something that gives you a sense of purpose, even it means sacrificing the comfort of knowing where you will take your holidays next August.

The ephemeral concept of ‘fulfillment’ is probably the best way to describe it. For you, the experience of the journey is equally, if not more, valuable than the destination.

You interpret the words “that’s impossible” as a dare.

You see something broken in the world and are overcome by a relentless passion to fix it.

You look forward to public holidays as chances to catch up on your business with fewer distractions, not as excuses for taking long weekends.

Stepping outside of your comfort-zone gives you a natural high.

Your greatest nightmare is to let the decades pass by and then realize you’ve been stuck in a rut.

On the other hand, friends, peers, family, and other well-intentioned advisors counsel you to be intelligent:

  • You have a stable job. Don’t do something stupid like resigning to pursue an entrepreneurial dream. Look at how tough the market is out there.
  • Have you carefully thought through your radical decision and analyzed all the risk scenarios entailed?
  • Look at how far you’ve already come and your well-positioned career trajectory. Why put all that at risk? What would people think of you if you fail?
  • And for heaven’s sake, don’t move abroad. Think about how difficult it will be for you to get back into the French system once you leave.

For most people, the above advice is probably good advice.

But you are not ‘most people’. In a small minority of people, yes you are. Perhaps you’re even the only one in your social circle that thinks differently than conventional wisdom. As a result, you sometimes even question yourself too (“none of my friends think like me, so maybe I really am crazy.”).

This post is to tell you, however, that you are not alone. You are a rare breed. You are special. You are indeed a little bit crazy and a little bit naive. And when you make that professional jump that you’ve been contemplating in your gut, you will become a genuine entrepreneur.

I salute you.

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