“If I were to wish for anything [it would be] for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.” – Soren Kierkegaard [*]
I learn so much from my students. I’m currently teaching a wonderful group of seniors, and they’re naturally contemplating their next steps after graduation.
Recently, I was imploring them to develop their entrepreneurial pursuits even while they might be forced to take a less-than-ideal job immediately after graduation.
I told them that by developing their meaningful work while they were doing work simply to pay their bills (“The Sex and Cash Theory” so perfectly articulated by Hugh MacLeod) they would be able to more easily suffer the indignities which tend to be an axiomatic part of jobs done just for the cash.
I also told them that by making sure not to forget their purpose-driven ventures amidst their just-for-the-money jobs, they would be creating options for themselves.
As I said this, I looked at their faces and saw such possibility emanating from each of them, and I saw something else too. I paused for a moment and said something along the lines of: “Bitterness occurs when you don’t have options.”
This possibility — the virtually unlimited options awaiting these student, and their belief in that possibility, even if only for that moment — crowded out any hint of bitterness/cynicism from their faces (if it had been there at all).
I’ve reflected on this quite a bit recently, and I believe it now more than ever: It’s options — a feeling of possibility, of not being trapped — that allow us to escape the evilness that is bitterness.
I don’t think I know any bitter entrepreneurs. Certainly, I know some crazy-ass, maladjusted entrepreneurs, but they tend not to be bitter. It’s because they know they always have options.
Think about the most bitter person you know, and check to see if he/she is also one of the people you know who – for whatever reason – is sort trapped…without options.
Don’t let this happen to you.
[*] You want to know why you blog? It’s because when you do, if you’re lucky, you get amazing feedback from people who read what you write; such as this quote from my friend John P. Strohm. Thanks, John.