I can’t think of anyone who could offer better motivation for successful entrepreneurs than Henry David Thoreau – so I shot this video at the site where he wrote his famous book, ‘On Walden Pond.’
Thoreau built his own cabin (yes, he’s the grandfather of the tiny house movement) and lived on Walden Pond for a year while writing his book. What I want to talk about is the inspiration that I’ve gotten, especially as an entrepreneur, from a guy like Henry.
One thing he wrote that really resonates with me was his warning about how ‘men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ When I read those words I thought, “No! I’m not going to do that!”
Thoreau really was his own man. “Live the life you have imagined,” he wrote, “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity” – advocating freedom from distractions of the endlessly diverting display of the world of stuff, stuff and more stuff – great entrepreneurial advice! “It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about…?”
He was a thought leader and the inspiration for civil disobedience movements around the world – inspiring people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King to lead their own movements and succeed. And he did this in the face of a lot of challenge – lot’s of people didn’t agree with him or they thought he was kind of crazy.
If you’re an entrepreneur, like I’m an entrepreneur, we are doing something that is genuinely challenging and where other people are looking at us and saying, “Oh, that’ll never work. That’s never going to fly.” And yet here we are continuing to pursue something that we really believe in on our path to becoming successful entrepreneurs.
When I’m facing serious challenges in the work that I do – and it comes up pretty often where I’m thinking, “Oh, I’m not sure that this will work,” or I have some doubt. One of the stories that I tell myself is the story of Thoreau and what he did to carve his own path and to try things and to go against conventional wisdom.
So, what are the inspirations and what are the stories that you tell yourself when you’re facing your challenges?
I would love to hear those in the comments.
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