The 16th Century Italian artist Michelangelo is responsible for some of the grandest and most enduring works of sculpture and paintings in history.
This is in addition to significant contributions in other practices, including poetry and architecture.
Unlike some artists, who starved while alive and only gained recognition after death, Michelangelo was both successful and renowned while still alive, with two biographies published during his lifetime.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it,” Michelangelo said. “And it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
For the casual observer, a block of stone is just a block of stone. But the sculptor sees what the “average person” does not and goes about bringing that vision to life.
It is the same with a composer, author, moviemaker, or other artist: they specialize in putting something before us which did not exist before.
When they are very good at what they do, they have the power to change the world and even to become rich and famous.
But “seeing the statue inside the stone” is not a skill that is limited only to artists.
What about revolutionary products or services that come onto the scene? That was once the description for television, telephones, and electric light bulbs.
Today, it describes services such as Uber and the seemingly unending parade of new apps and websites that deliver value and high-quality customer experiences to a multitude of niches. It also describes new products including personal drones, Hovertrax and more.
All of these things are the result, in whole or in part, of an entrepreneur who saw a need and moved to fill it. They saw a possibility and worked to bring it to reality.
Entrepreneurs create new realities. Sometimes these new realities—Facebook, GoPro, Tesla—positively affect such large sections of the population that the entrepreneur or their company may find themselves in the spotlight.
Tell Me about It, Einstein
It was Albert Einstein who said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The sculptor may not know what the sculpture is right now, but they create it by way of imagination and then chip away at the marble.
In business and entrepreneurship, a lot is said of the importance of making mistakes, “failing fast” and the like. This is just another way of saying that they don’t always know how to get from where they are to where they see (imagine) themselves being.
Through trial and error (and persistence) they eventually arrive.
While the majority of the world’s people are satisfied going to their jobs everyday, entrepreneurs are busy “discovering the sculpture inside the stone.”
It is the vision and creativity—the ability to see and bring to reality things which were not there before—that separates entrepreneurs from so-called “ordinary people.”
This is why we revere Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Fred Smith, Mark Zuckerberg and so many others.
How to Be an Entrepreneur
There are several qualities that most successful entrepreneurs seem to possess.
It’s hard to say if they are qualities you’re born with or that you develop through your life.
I tend to think it’s the latter. Here are what I feel are the most important ones:
Persistence: Some of these men and women are (or were) considered geniuses, but what is genius?
It has long been acknowledged to be more a matter of persistence than brilliance, such as by Thomas Edison, who famously said in 1902 that “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
So persistence—the capacity to remain focused on your goal and to ride out the hard times and barriers—is probably the basic characteristic of the entrepreneur. Without persistence, none of the other characteristics matter.
Courage: People will tell you that you’re crazy and that you’re wasting your time. Will you believe them and give up or will you push past the criticism and continue to move toward your vision?
Obsession: “Don’t pursue something because you ‘want to be great.’ “Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you,” said Justine Musk, former wife of Elon Musk, who observed his rise as a serial entrepreneur.
“If the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you …
Resourcefulness: In the beginning, you may not have much, so you will have to find a way to make the most of what you do have: money, contacts, and time.
Flexibility: You have an idea but, in persisting and learning, you may discover that it’s not something that people actually want, or that it won’t ever be profitable.
You may find that you need to adjust, change, or expand your original idea—or perhaps scrap it altogether.
I never considered myself an artist. And I didn’t set out to build MOBE so that I would make headlines. I simply wanted to be in control of my life.
I didn’t want to sit in an office behind a desk every day for the next 35 years after I graduated from college. I didn’t want my income to be limited to a salary and occasional bonuses.
Article curated with thanks from MOBE