I was listening to last night’s Sen. Obama’s speech from Virginia and I was very impressed by the defense he gave for the use of hope in his campaign. It got me thinking that the most crucial thing an entrepreneur must have is hope. It’s not the only characteristic you need, that’s obvious, hope without hard work is pretty useless. But it’s true that hope really makes the difference between two persons.
Hope is the fuel of practically all the successful startups we currently see but most of the times people just underestimate it. I remember when I told my friends I was about to quit everything and start my own company that all that I kept hearing was: “man, return to reality“, “Alex be real, it’s very tough and you won’t make it“. Obama said something tonight that really tickled inside me. It’s because people have hope that they can achieve great things. Realistic people don’t achieve anything because they are bounded to their own personal restrictions. They don’t try to break current conceptions or ideas because they feel it’s impossible. And that’s the problem, they don’t even try!
That’s why even though most entrepreneurs fail at some point, the ones that have hope on their success will eventually succeed. Take the example of Larry Page. When he was working at Stanford, his only hope was to crawl all the Internet into his computer. That seemed rather ridiculous at the time and I’m very sure that many people told him that he was an idealistic, that he was crazy and that he should be more realistic. Nevertheless that dream, that hope took him to start Google and to change the face of the Internet as we knew it.
Google is just the most notorious example, but you can find many other small scale projects that have succeeded thanks to hope. Again, hope is not magical all by it self. It usually comes hand in hand with hard work, probably because hard work is driven by it. But don’t fool yourselves, it doesn’t works the other way round, hard work by it self doesn’t gets you success. Specially because even if you work hard for many hours, days, weeks or years, it’s hope what keeps you going, it’s hope what makes you go to work every day, it’s hope what makes you stand up again when something went really wrong. What really strikes me is that many people perceive hope as the characteristic of fools, disregarding its real value and power. I truly think that fools are the ones that can’t make change happen, that are unable to pursue their dreams, that can’t wake up and say to themselves, I can make this work, I can push the limits of innovation, I have the power to change the lives of thousands of persons. Of course it’s easier to give up against reality. That’s the easy path, just blame society, the market, the global industry leaders. Thinking about doing something new is tough and requires a great deal of courage. So people, next time someone tells you that you are a fool or an idealistic, don’t be ashamed, hope is the fuel of our dreams, and dreams are the vehicle of innovation, change and success.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world“
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