The lonely futurist
Entrepreneurship is lonely. Most people tend to want to be understood. In a world where the future is constantly evolving, and the crazy guy from your high school is now a millionaire, most innovators with a bright idea feel a sense of urgency, littered with incremental stealth. A balance ensues between pitching effectively, and guarding trade secrets. The line gets gray.
Every person you meet with any relative interest becomes a new pitch test-dummy. Every person you care about says, "Only you would think of that." Only you. A painful compliment indeed. Suddenly, every time you meet someone you're interested in, you can't quite find the words for a normal conversation. There is a need to be understood as a legend in the works. Your idea is gold! It becomes difficult to decipher appropriate times and audiences to share your idea with. Is church an appropriate place? Is telling the girl I just met a good idea? Can I even pitch my brilliance without losing their attention? Am I talking too much? Was that stupid? The line gets blurry.
You talk to your mom. Student loans are behind. Everyone expects you to be a millionaire by now. After all, you PROMISED the world you would be a millionaire by 23. Now you're 26, and you still can't figure out who you were before you became this way. How did normal conversations go before you cared so much about the future? Why did you feel a lot more cool when you didn't even know about your idea yet? I've had friends suggest that ignorance is bliss. Well, maybe it is. But the hunger drives you. Sacrifices are made, and now you mostly watch bitterly as another one of your ideas make the front cover of Fortune this week, without you.
You pitch your ideas more frantically now. Everyone must know what you created before someone else does it first. Everyone must know you're the person with the vision. Everyone must love you. You meet someone else you like, and you try to pitch faster this time. "This is who I am... This is what I love... This is why I will change the world... This is why I am so fucking special." It goes on. You try to explain things that don't exist yet, and another great conversation turns into an awkward moment. You've forgotten how to play dumb enough to be approachable. You begin making jokes that nobody will get to feel better. You're alone because YOU wanted to be alone. You slowly own your plight to feel control. You promise your mom you'll be successful, and toss and turn for the 1000th night in a row. You think about the old days, before you cared, and can't really remember who you even spent time with then. How did people like you? You hadn't even come up with this idea yet!
You pray. You seek solace in your loneliness. You seek understanding from old friends, and former flings. You try to have confidence around pretty girls, and go to the gym early in the morning to feel better about your seclusion. You finally realize how to talk to that one girl you like. You finally find someone interested in investing in your idea. You finally feel like you are actually the person you think you are. You find your mojo, and have a good nights sleep for once. You wake up and check WSJ. There's your idea, created by some genius. Someone who is so special. You start over again.
One day you'll have someone who loves you and understands you. One day you'll make the impact on this world you are destined to provide. One day you won't have debt, and you'll change lives. One day is what gets you through today. One day becomes another day. Eventually, 3 more years have gone by. Your friends are married or having children. Your mother suggests you get a second job, or a "real career," yet you endure. Nobody hires a 26 year old CEO. One day you'll feel complete.
Entrepreneurship isn't lonely because today you aren't successful yet. Entrepreneurship is lonely, because you allow one day to be anything other than today. You are lonely because you live in the future with just yourself. You chose this path. You will be great. One day. Embrace the failures and the struggle. Imagine a day where you can't even remember what loneliness feels like. A day where failure becomes a distant memory that you never want to return to. A day where someone you love, loves you, because you never give up on what you believe in. A day where you can buy mom a new car. A day where you can change a strangers life. Really think about what that would feel like. How happy you would be. How does it feel? Now take that feeling with you into tomorrow. Be that person. You will be great! One day.