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Q: I’m a startup entrepreneur. I graduated with a top ten MBA and worked at a high-tech company for a few years, but last year I quit my job and took the leap into entrepreneurship.
Actually, I missed a chance to become a successful entrepreneur while I was doing my MBA. A few friends suggested going into business together. At the time, I had an offer from a pretty decent company and was looking forward to a high salary there, so I didn’t want to give that up and start with nothing. A few years later, my friends’ company had become extremely successful. Every time I saw an article about them on Facebook, I regretted missing that opportunity. I was satisfied with my current job and salary, but I also wanted to try my hand at running my own company before it was too late.
I did have some financial concerns when quitting my job. I still had a $150,000 student loan to pay off and had spent a million on a house a few years earlier. My wife’s salary as a teacher wasn’t enough to pay off my student loan and mortgage. I had enough in my bank account to last a year, and I thought, “I just have to think positive and believe in myself. I’ll get money in a year, somehow.”
But things didn’t work out as well as I’d thought. The first business I tried hit a regulatory wall. Then there was some conflict with my partners and one of us left. I started working on a second idea with my remaining partners, but we couldn’t attract enough investment this time. I realized it had already been a year and my bank account was almost at zero.
We’re now working on a third business idea. The problem is the cost of living. Even if everything goes well, it’ll take over a year before I have enough money to live on. There may be unforeseen obstacles like last time. On top of all that, my wife is pregnant. I’m not confident I can last another year or more even with a credit loan. I worry that I’ll have to sell my house or ask my parents for help. I’m so worried that I can’t even sleep lately.
I got a call from a headhunter yesterday asking me to interview for a job for a 20% salary increase over my last job, and honestly, I was all ears. With a salary, I wouldn’t have all these worries about money and I’d be able to live comfortably again. But I wonder whether going back to an office job is really what I want. Maybe I’m making another choice I’ll regret because of my concerns about money.
– Rahul from California
A: Many people experience a period in which the flow of money temporarily stops before they become wealthy. It’s like a bottleneck. If you can overcome your fear and anxiety at such times, you can bring yourself even more wealth than you were expecting.
To enjoy the luck, and particularly the financial luck, you are given, it’s important to keep your mind as still as a placid lake. When a full cup of water shakes, some water naturally spills out. Likewise, when the bowl of your mind shakes, it’s difficult to keep all the wealth inside it. If your emotions falter along with your bank account balance, money won’t stay with you for long. On the other hand, when you feel at ease with the amount of money you have, your bowl of financial luck will grow. Peace of mind will naturally come so that you will be able to fill a bigger bowl.
Now, how can you master negative emotions? First, accept that anxiety is natural and to be expected, just like a boat rocks in the waves. We’re now on a voyage toward wealth, and your destination is naturally becoming a rich person. Your boat may sometimes be jolted by severe waves as you travel, and you may even get seasick. That’s normal. You can be as anxious as you need to in order to meet your short-term financial goals.
The problem is that if your boat gets shipwrecked by anxiety, if you find yourself trapped by it, you won’t ever reach your destination. Don’t forget that the rocking of your boat is all part of the journey. The biggest problem for many people comes when their anxiety suddenly throws a boat that had been traveling in the right direction off course. Then, the more they struggle to redirect it, the more likely the boat will hit a rock, get caught up in a storm, or gradually drift away from its destination.
It’s okay to be anxious. You don’t need to be afraid of your own emotions. Anxiety and apprehension aren’t like cancerous tumors you need to gouge out. In fact, they’re defense mechanisms humans instinctively developed to sense danger back in the prehistoric era. Even if your boat rocks, you’re still moving toward your destination. You’re still safe.
Be as anxious as you need to be. But let your soul lead you and act according to your comfort. Then you’ll naturally lead good fortune your way. And you’ll reach your destination before you know it.
Suh Yoon's Quotes“When a full cup of water shakes, some water naturally spills out. Likewise, when the bowl of your mind shakes, it’s difficult to keep all the wealth inside it.”
“We’re now on a voyage toward wealth. Your boat may sometimes be jolted by severe waves as you travel, and you may even get seasick. That’s normal. Don’t forget that the rocking of your boat is all part of the journey.”
“Even if your boat rocks, you’re still moving toward your destination. You’re still safe. Be as anxious as you need to be. But let your soul lead you and act according to your comfort. Then you’ll naturally lead good fortune your way.”