the entrepreneurial spirit
The title is not a mistake. What I mean to talk about
today is how to survive if you possess that admirable quality called
the entrepreneurial spirit. Let us see how to keep it alive and
to survive despite it because there will be times when you wonder
whether it is a blessing or a curse.
do not really know whether I possess this quality. And secondly,
it is not clear whether I am an entrepreneur. Then again, it does
not matter because I am simply delivering a message.
But, I do know
that I possess one quality that turns entrepreneurs into successful
business people persistence and the never say die attitude. That
quality, more than anything else, accounts for the fame and fortune
of successful people.
Two days ago,
a gentleman called me and introduced himself as a reader of The
Sunday Times. He spoke to me of a product that he had developed
through his own research and efforts with the help from research
and development organizations. It was an interesting product and
I wondered why no one thought of making it before. Or perhaps someone
did and gave up before making it commercially viable. After all,
not everyone has the spirit of Thomas Alva Edison who claimed that
he found 1000 ways of how not to make the light bulb before he found
the right way of making it.
My caller was
seeking for finances to go into production. And it is the usual
story you should guess it before I complete this sentence. The financial
institutions have told him to put in some money before they put
in their share or to find a partner willing to finance the project.
not a young man, said he, and my gut response was that Age
is only a number. That cheered him up to no end. There was
really nothing much I could do other than give some contacts and
a lot of encouragement. And that is what got me thinking of surviving
I went to bed
last night thinking of this and woke up today with a couple of sentences
ringing in my head. And as fate would have it, they are about persistence!
They are from the Dhammapada, hardly the recommended text in business
schools. As you rightly guessed, it is not about business; it is
about qualities that bring you fame. And before you accuse me of
getting religion mixed up in the unholy field of business, let me
remind you that Dhammapada is philosophy rather than religion. It
talks about a way of life. And business is part of the business
translation of the words can be translated as follows: Whoso
is strenuous, constantly recollected, pure in conduct, deliberate
of his actions, self-restrained, righteous of life, and vigilant
the fame of him increases. - Dharmarthadeepanee, 1936.
For me, strenuous
has negative connotations. However, it was translated long before
Work smart; not hard slogan became popular.
recollected would in popular parlance be cool, calm
and collected; but it really refers to having your wits about
you and being mindful of everything that you do.
Dhammapada refers to watching yourself and your faculties so you
avoid the undesirable. However, applied to business, it would mean
keeping your eyes and ears open and your antennas tuned so you receive
all signals that are important for growth and survival. Opportunities
and threats, both are born in the business environment. You must
be vigilant and be ready to spring into action when opportunities
or threats arise.
I do believe
that business people can be pure in conduct; they can
be pure in their thoughts, actions and words. It is the same about
leading a righteous life. It may be difficult, but it is certainly
Daya Rohana Athukorala, speaker and writer, his book titled Laxapathiyaku
Wana Maga is his best work so far in the way of positive attitudes.
However, many of his usual readers shun the book because of its
flagrantly monetary sounding title. So, among thinking people, money
is dirty after all. But, should it be? You be the judge. Your decisions
and the values on which you base your decisions will have a big
impact upon your future.
As an entrepreneur,
it is up to you to set your own standards. Of course, if you are
not so goody-goody and become rich anyway, you can always pay a
PR agency later to whitewash you so your fame grows in line with
That, by the
way, is not a piece of advice; that is simply my natural cynicism
escaping the barriers of restraint.
To get anywhere
you need deliberation. Take the story of every successful business
and you will see the entrepreneur was deliberate regardless of whether
it was a he or a she.
do not possess of the qualities above, one essential quality you
will need to survive with the entrepreneurial spirit is persistence;
never giving up; going ahead despite all barriers. Rome was not
built in a day; nothing worthwhile ever is. So, every time your
entrepreneurial spirit is sagging, think of Edison and such stories.
your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Athwela
on 074-304112. We look forward to hearing from you.
The writer is
the Managing Editor of Athwela Vyaparika Sangarawa (Athwela Business
Journal), the only Sinhala management monthly targeting the small
and medium sized business operators and its English version, Small
Business International magazine.