Lion in the Wild: Why Entrepreneurship is a Natural Choice

One of my favorite articles is by Paul Graham, entrepreneur, investor, founder of Y Combinator. I quote it often and I wanted to give it a shout out. It’s called You Weren’t Meant to Have a Boss.
Paul likens an entrepreneur to a lion in the wild. He says:

“I was in Africa last year and saw a lot of animals in the wild that I’d only seen in zoos before. It was remarkable how different they seemed. Particularly lions. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive.

They’re like different animals. I suspect that working for oneself feels better to humans in much the same way that living in the wild must feel better to a wide-ranging predator like a lion. Life in a zoo is easier, but it isn’t the life they were designed for.”

Here’s my interpretation of what he’s saying: It’s much tougher to be out in the world of the unknown, whether in work or in life. It’s wild. It’s scary. And on any given day it can eat you alive. That’s the daily existence for people who work as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is like walking into a jungle and trust that you packed the right stuff beforehand.

But… the process engrosses you. Your mistakes are your own, and you can do whatever you want. You love it, because you are free. Or as Paul Graham says “Ten times more alive”!

Humans weren’t designed to be corporate machines, slaving away (voluntarily!) to build someone else’s dreams. To feed someone else’s family. Entrepreneurship means that you may not know if you’re going to eat the next day or not. But it’s your choice whether or not that happens, not someone else’s. You don’t live off someone else’s rationing.

Being wild, free, undaunted and passionate amidst daily challenges are characteristics of both the lion and the entrepreneur. No one would ever argue that entrepreneurship is easy.

But human beings were meant to experience life by being alive. Ten times more alive than they are when captive. We’ve been taught that we’re supposed to take charge of our own destinies. How are we supposed to do that if we can’t even control the amount of dollars in our wallets?

Kudos to the entrepreneurs among us! And lets hope the numbers continue to grow. It’s way more fun to run together.

If you’re an entrepreneur, do you feel more free because of it? If you’re not an entrepreneur, do you think becoming one would make you feel more free?

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