Something that I’ve been trying to explore on my own for the past couple of months in business is trying to take teachings and values from the eastern part of the world, specifically Nepal, and then somehow make sense of where those values fit in the western practices of doing business or just building a startup.
Amongst some veteran entrepreneurs from the west, there’s a nuanced understanding that entrepreneurship is a means to express which overshadows any other aspirations for returns may it be financial or social. And, this particular understanding ties in pretty well with a popular ideology widely understood in the eastern part of the world, which is, one should work without attachment or just simply, one should work without the expectation of any reward.
If you really think about it, I guess you would also come to the same conclusion that the thought of working to express oneself is probably a derived thought which actually stems from the thought of working without attachment.
But why would anyone even work without the expectation of any rewards? The capitalistic construct of the west dictates that one works to thrive monetarily and anything other than that is simply just not the purpose of work. However, here’s an example where this ideology from the east might actually work as a pragmatic approach to moving forward in life for an entrepreneur who is stuck:
For people who start out in business or startup land pretty young, most of their efforts are tied to either prove their entrepreneurial skills to gain financial independence early on or to gain social standing. So when these young people actually get the rewards they worked so hard for at a young age, they start getting into a position where all the work that they’ve done until then starts losing its charm, and the next step as an entrepreneur feels blurry. Why work if you’ve already gained all that you’ve aspired for and are at the top of the societal status chain.
This is where the ideology starts taking a pragmatic form and becomes a necessity for such mentally and emotionally troubled entrepreneurs.
When such entrepreneurs start to work without expecting anything in return or just to express themself, things start to fall in place for them even if they’ve lost the joy of work despite being a workaholic for a good amount of their life. This whole idea of working for the sake of identifying one’s existence in this world feels pretty mind soothing if one really thinks about it.
I know this might sound confusing for people who are just starting out in their career, but for many, the meaning of work changes once they’ve done it, got what they wanted and an extra zero in their bank account doesn’t really feel like a huge difference in their happiness meter.
But, if you’re someone who has hit a block in your entrepreneurship career/run, I hope this way of thinking can be helpful to you as well.