A Key to Success as an Entrepreneur?

Posted in 2021

Philosophers often speak of activities having either intrinsic value or instrumental value. As I understand this, something has intrinsic value if it provides meaning to you in and of itself. An activity that has instrumental value is more of a means to an end.

Perhaps the best example of an activity that would be deemed to be primarily that of instrumental value would be working at a job you do not enjoy. Essentially, you’re trading your 50 hours of hell per week in return for money (another instrument) with which you can buy things that you need and like.

So how would this translate into the world of the small entrepreneur? Can you design your business, either as a start up, or tweaking the enterprise in which you currently function, so that it returns intrinsic value to you? In other words, the “work” you do in your business feels less like work and more like something about which you feel passion.

You can also express this as “being in the zone”, or losing track of time while engaged in a particular activity. However you examine how you spend your day, the trap that is best to avoid is trading hellish hours for money to buy you things. Or, instead, why not enjoy the ride?!

Author Ken Robinson expresses this another way in his writings. His books on what he terms the element, the most recent of which is Finding Your Element, (2013, Penguin Books), speak to finding task or tasks which you are good at doing and which provide value to others, and, that you are passionate about. Aptitude plus passion is his formula for the element.

Aptitude without passion leaves you excelling at something that you don’t like. You may be a great accountant, yet hate every moment spent in front of your computer screen.

Passion without aptitude may leave you penniless. You may love painting watercolors, but if people who purchase paint by number sets at the local toy store create better works than you, your abilities won’t generate the life you desire.

And I would add that your aptitude need be something in which others find value. You must be good at creating a product or service that your fellow humans will purchase from you. In modern society, money still floats the boat. And certainly when creating the business of your dreams, a measuring stick for success are those top and bottom lines.

What is the key component to success? Quite often, as you search for a business to start, or ways to make your present entrepreneurial experience more satisfying, you often look to things at which you excel. But in so doing, you sometimes forget that which you enjoy!

So when considering your entrepreneurial journey, think of the intrinsic value to what it is you will do. The more you engage in tasks that you enjoy, even about which you are passionate, the more you will succeed in both phases of your business — providing a great living for yourself and your family, while maximizing the satisfaction you derive from your “work”.

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