I was once told by someone, don’t give hope to an entrepreneur if you think it will not work out.
I used to think that this was the right thing as well. In the pursuit of this philosophy, I have taken apart more than my fair share of business plans and pointed out flaws in thinking.
Today, I beg to differ.
While hope alone cannot take you all the way; the absence of hope can turn negative outcomes into self-fulfilling prophecies.
This is not just in the case of entrepreneurship. An employee who has no hope of promotion would never give the job everything that they have got. This often ensures that there is not even the possibility of arguing for the promotion.
A mountaineer stuck on a peak unable to descend. Does he muster the last shreds of strength in him hoping a rescue crew would show up or just resign to inevitable death. The bedrock of most survival movies is hope. 36 Hours, Gravity and several others.
I was recently watching the movie Marshall on Netflix. It is a movie about a case that Thurgood Marshall wanted to fight on behalf of the NAACP. The case of Joseph Spell Vs the State of Connecticut, where Joseph had been accused of rape and attempted murder. Set in the 1930s, it is just after the depression and just before the second world war. The judge does not allow Marshall to represent Joseph Spell, who is a black man. The defence does not give up, even though the court seems to be against the victim. Even though it does not seem to be a fair fight.
Although unfair, they soldier on, hoping the truth would prevail. Given that they thought it right to make a movie, you can already guess what happens.
Giving hope is important, even if the chances are slim. You never know what attempt works out, what chances a person would take if they have the hope of coming through.
As they say, the answer to the question you never asked is always - NO. If there is hope, at least you will ask the question.
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I fully agree with you Vivek. When I started my first startup on on-demand homecare, the leaders I spoke with told me it was not a business that would work. My parents and husband thought that I was crazy to give up my promising career to start a company that would not last and I would end up losing all of my savings. But I know the idea would work out, and I hope that it would become a company that can touch many lives and make people's lives better. I had to learn diaper change, bed sponging, showering for elderly, etc. for the first time. It was a very tough business as we are dealing with people's lives and the expectations from the care recipients and family members are high. But it is the hope that kept me going and it is now doing quite okay.
Now in my second startup, it is the hope of changing the lives of the special needs persons positively that keeps me going. Hope is a very powerful energy that can help us stay positive and overcome challenges.
Having said, we must also be able to apply wisdom in making decisions.