THE FIRST STEP
Exciting, exhilarating, heartbreaking at times, triumphant—the entrepreneurship is all that and more. You are the high-risk-takers, you are the sharp and the quick, you grasp and you pounce, you soar high above the most in many ways. Chances are, however, you feel you are doing most of that grasping and soaring alone and you well may be. The truth is, you are different. Being different is a mandatory prerequisite for loneliness. I think, it even says so in the loneliness manual, but I could be paraphrasing. Surprisingly, most people find a good salary, a 401K plan and eight sick days a year appealing. You do not want to follow the others into that blind alley. You do not see yourself spending your life in a cubicle with only the photos of your family to brighten your day.
Let’s face it, you are different. You like eighty-hour work weeks. You would happily accept any number of defeats just to get that one big win, and you know you will prevail. You give new definitions to the expressions “taking things in strides” and “rolling with the punches.” You are resilient. You are unkillable. You are much more. You are not into finger-pointing or pouting, either. You know where the buck stops. The buck stops right here. You stop the buck. You strive for things in your life that a salary and even a corner office couldn’t give you. And with that, very likely you are fighting for a better chance to help others, too. Most importantly, you want to live life YOUR way. Makes perfect sense, since this is YOUR life.
Being pretty much the only one making decisions and taking the risks in your life, it should come as no huge surprise that you may find yourself feeling lonely. I mean, if half of the people around you are below average per the definition of “average,” and most people rightfully don’t give a flying hoot about your problems and some keep you on your toes by being fully capable of stubbing you in the back and doing so at times, you are justified in feeling lonely. Right?
We are born alone, we take risks alone and we die alone, one on one with whatever comes. Between birth and death we live mostly in our heads—alone. We do things with the others and among the others, we interact, we get impacted and we impinge, but most of our life is hidden from all others. So, being alone is not an unheard of condition for any human being.
However, being alone and loneliness are two different things. One can be alone and not feel lonely or one can feel lonely with a mojito in his hand at a jubilant party. So, in regard to loneliness, we are really talking about a state of mind. Loneliness is all in your head. So, what is the problem, right? Just change your mind! That is the Step One in combating loneliness.
Google the subject of combating loneliness and you’ll find changing your mind as the first step. Simple. Unfortunately, anybody who tried would attest that it is very hard to do. Go ahead, try it. Change your mind. Things are not that simple. We have to dig deeper. We must have missed a step. If changing your mind is Step One, we must have missed Step Zero.
What is that Step Zero about? What is this lonely view of the world sitting on? What is the bedrock of loneliness? A notion that people are dangerous, perhaps? That they wouldn’t understand you? That they would hurt you in some way or make fun of you? That they envy you? Dislike you? Don’t care about you? May stub you in the back?
We are obviously talking about the emotion of fear here. Loneliness is a state of mind rooted in fear. Does that tie in with entrepreneurship in any way? Doesn’t matter right now. What matters is eliminating fear as the primary step. The proof is in the pudding. Let’s take fear out of the equation and see what happens to your sense of loneliness.
Do not be alarmed about losing the fear. You do not need that fear, it is all irrational. Fear can be a legitimate, potentially life-saving emotion but only if the danger is specific, real and confirmed. Otherwise, it is irrational, you don’t need it, like the fear of spiders or the fear of clowns instead of being duly terrified of French fries that kill millions, as an example. Are you scared to death of French fries? That would be rational, but no, you are not scared of French fries, you are scared of snakes or spiders. When it comes to fear, rationality flies right out the window. There is nothing rational about our fears. They suck the power out of you. They are bad for business. Let’s get rid of them. You’ll be a happier person and a better entrepreneur without your fears. And you won’t feel lonely.
Fear may have many wonderfully-complex psychological causes. We could mosey straight into that thicket and get lost there forever, so we won’t go the psychology route. Sorry. We’ll just apply a simple, common and well-known meditation technique for a few minutes to clean out all the fear from your system and be done with it. I bet as an entrepreneur you could use the boost of power and clarity coming your way.
Sit alone in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Imagine being surrounded by pleasant white or golden light. If you have difficulties imagining the light simply materializing around you, imagine it coming straight down at you from some unimaginably distant point at the center of the Universe.
Breathe in that light-saturated air through your nose. Imagine light being carried by the air through your entire body. Repeat as many times as you need to feel the light spreading all the way through your body, including your fingers and toes.
Now visualize blackness inside and imagine the white light in your body displacing that blackness from all the nooks and crannies and forcing it up through your lungs, throat and mouth and out, where it is immediately whisked away into the stratosphere to be sucked away by the vacuum of space and be gone forever. Do not pack the blackness you exhale around you. Get rid of it. Keep the drill going until you feel a change for the better, which shouldn’t take long, probably under a minute. Enjoy the nice feeling and go about your business of building empires and conquering the world. Repeat the drill later in the day, several times if possible. Repeat any time as needed.
To reiterate, the drill is very simple. Keep it that way. You inhale the white light and you exhale blackness. Do not complicate the drill. Do not take it past the point of feeling noticeably better on any single run. Just let it go and repeat later.
Turns out the light you inhale is love and the blackness it displaces is fear. You can’t have both occupying the same space. You absorb fear from the environment and it displaces love. This meditation restores love as the major component of your spiritual makeover, which means you have to lose some fear. Simple. Love and fear are a zero-sum game.
How is that loneliness? Have you successfully completed the first step? Have you changed your mind?