The Surest Path To Failure Is To Be True to Oneself. So Why Am I Smiling So Much?

TheDividedSelfA decision has been made. Of that much, I am sure.

In the past few weeks, however, I’ve read enough “popular” neuroscience to know that “I” did not make this decision, if by “I,” one means the self-conscious inner monologue that most people equate with “I,” and which is mostly responsible for most of the words I put here.

What’s more, I am also certain that the certainty and conviction, which has arrived hand-in-glove with this decision, is not the logical result of careful and rational deliberation. The “certainty” light in the dashboard of my brain is rosily lit, but not for any reason that can be connected to reason because what I have in mind for the future will almost certainly fail.

This is not false modesty. It is the brutal reality of entrepreneurship. Almost all entrepreneurial projects end in failure. Period. To make matters worse, the idea that I am pursuing lies on the plausibility scale somewhere between foolish and silly because it originates in a hunch that flies in the face of all logic, reason, and experience, but, nevertheless, rings true to me.

Unfortunately, thanks to the logic of the market, the surest and most certain path to failure is to be true to oneself. The market only ever favours and rewards that which has mass appeal, and never that which is unique and idiosyncratic. Or, at least, so it seems.

And yet, my pleasure centres are firing like they haven’t fired in a long time. The dopamine is running like sap in Spring. Undoubtedly, some much less rational part of me has decided that this is the right — nay, the only — way forward. Dopamine never lies, right?

Ultimately, the path forward isn’t terribly romantic. I will keep my costs low, work to develop some revenue streams, and see what happens while my savings last. Seems simple enough, but so does rocket science — I mean, that’s just sticking humans in a metal pod on top of a giant exploding stick, right? In practice, how hard can that be? Right?

Are you pursuing — or thinking about pursuing — a crazy idea that doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of succeeding in hell’s market. I’d love to hear about it. The more the merrier! Why? Because I know, if you are like me, you are having — or about to have — the time of your life, and who wouldn’t want to share in that.

Please leave a comment below.

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10 thoughts on “The Surest Path To Failure Is To Be True to Oneself. So Why Am I Smiling So Much?

      1. Ha! Usually only an established franchise can get away with so many teaser trailers. There you have an idea of the substance so your audience can be excitedly engaged with just flash and dazzle!

        1. For the handful of people who know me, I AM an established franchise! 🙂

          Your mistake, however, is to assume that I have an idea of substance, and that there is some big reveal in the works. No, no, all I am working on is a hunch, hope, and a prayer for the time being! Process proceeds product, to paraphrase existentialism.

          1. My highly practical, middle class side resists the idea that you have quit your job for a hope and a prayer! It makes me itchy just thinking about it!!! The tiny shred of my artistic soul cheers you on.

            And I guess you are an established franchise since I’m here following along!

            1. With a vague idea and a great smile, a man can accomplish anything. I’ve got 50% of what I need, so I’m half-way there! Also, my recently updated “About” page might give you an idea where I’m headed.

  1. I’ve found the last two posts really inspiring. My own crazy idea for this year is a long shot (book on taxes, which you might not expect from a translator whose other field of study was anthropology). If they fail spectacularly I suggest we celebrate that with a bottle of bubbly.

  2. I’m very glad to hear it, Alline! I also like your crazy idea. Who knows what pitfalls might be involved with such an ambitious project, but it will be worthwhile exploring. It turns out the old cliche about journeys and destinations is empirically accurate. Our brains get far more pleasure out of progress made towards our goal rather than the achievement of the goal. So, set the goal, enjoy progress towards it, and let’s have some bubbly either way — to celebrate the journey!

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