Before you tell people to leap, consider how many safety nets you have

I know a successful entrepreneur who was given a house when he was 25, sold it, and was able to live off of the $250,000 for the next five years, while his company became profitable. A little while later, his grandmother gave him a condo downtown. Because of his grandfather and father’s successful businesses, obtaining money–whether cash or access to a substantial amount of credit–has never been an issue.

His suggestions, like those of so many other self-help or entrepreneurial gurus, consist of the following: the only thing standing between you and success are your mental blocks. If you really wanted to start a business you’d just do it.

Those suggestions are two things.

1) Stupid. You can’t prescribe advice for others based on experiences that are only applicable to the top 5% of the population.

2) Harmful. It’s easy to say things like “if you don’t love your job, quit!” if you’ve never had to worry about where your next meal is coming from. It’s easy, therefore, for those people to insist that not quitting your job to start a business means that you’re being held back because of psychological barriers. “Getting more credit is simple!” “You can find an extra four hours a day if you look hard enough!”

When I was younger, my mother was going to school full-time, working full-time, and raising two young children. She hardly slept for 3 years. Really, would you say that the only thing holding her back is her mindset? When you’ve never had to work 40 hours a week, you just don’t know what kind of physical or mental toll that takes–even if it’s just one crap job for a year.

Before you tell others to leap–and insist that leaping to a risky venture is the easiest and most natural thing in the world, and that only suckers work for others–consider how many safety nets you have.

If taking the leap seems so easy for you that you just can’t figure out why more people don’t do it, you’re rich, and well-supported. Plenty of people need real logistical support, not cheerleaders. It’s easy, and cheap, to be a cheerleader. But just imagine how much further we’d get, and how many more ventures would take off, if people started offering real support.

If you feel guilty after reading entrepreneurial/programming gurus and cheerleaders, unsubscribe. Unfollow. Their target audience is rich 25-year-old white guys who can couch surf forever, not you.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

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