Why Entrepreneurs Struggle With Feelings
by Alex Charfen
This article is going to be a little different, but sometimes that's just what we need. I want to start with the statement that challenges you. It's my firm belief that entrepreneurs like us, don't know the difference between happy and sad. Agree? Disagree? Let me explain.
Hasn't your confusion been mistaken for aggression? Or, your irritation mistook for anger? Have you heard things like, “Hey, why are you so excited?” or “Why aren't you more excited?” “Why are you so happy?” “Why aren't you happier?” “How do you feel? Can't you just tell me how you are feeling?” People like you and I are constantly told we don't feel right.
We're also often told that we don't make other people feel right. The world of feelings is confusing to us. How many times have you heard a statement like this “You hurt someone's feelings without even trying?” I'm one of those people that I can make someone cry just by having a conversation, and it is rarely on purpose. How many times have you, ladies, been called a bitch for just being yourself, or trying to get something done? We are often told that we don't make other people feel right.
When someone says to someone like us, “How are you feeling?” the question is confusing. We want to tell those people, “I'm feeling like you should stop asking me that, and I want to resolve what's going on.” We are hardwired differently. That's why I believe you and I don't know the difference between happy and sad.
I know you figured out that it's binary, it's on/off. Happy is on. Sad is off. However, what is the difference between sad, frustrated, pissed off, ticked off, confused, and just plain not going to talk to you? There is usually little if any difference at all. For us, it's really all just these magical world of feelings we don't understand.
How many of you, like me, have been in front of that chart with the title that says, “How are you feeling?” You remember, don't you? It has all the cute little cartoon faces on it. There's happy, sad, and all the feelings I just named. If you don't remember where you saw it, then let me remind you where you might have been: The principal's office, the vice principal's office, disciplinary office, the probation office, warden's office. I'm just telling you where I've seen it. I'm kidding. Sort of…
Every time I was put in front of that chart, it always felt like a pop quiz I hadn't studied for. Over time, I realized that if I would answer “sleepy,” they would think it was environmental and leave me alone. See, that magical world of feelings doesn't work for us. Entrepreneurs are hard-wired differently. Here's what I believe you've been after your whole life: momentum. You tell me. Did you hear me say that, or did you feel it? Does that word “momentum” make you feel tingly? Do you know that that's what you want? Do you know how it feels to be in momentum? I'll bet you do.
There are three states. The first one is in momentum. For people like you and I, what does that momentum truly feel like? Usually, when I'm speaking, I get answers anywhere from ‘ecstasy,' and ‘incredible,' and ‘alive'. They feel like they can do anything like the whole world is open and available. The fact is, momentum is where people feel like they're alive and achieving. It's been written about for centuries. The state of momentum, flow, in the zone. We've been convinced that it's temporary, but the fact is you know that that is when you feel the most alive. That is our purpose, to be in momentum.
The second one is when we're facing resistance. This is when the world is coming at you. When you don't have the resources or know what it is going to take, you can't always see a way out, but you see a small light at the end of the tunnel. When everyone else in the world is saying, “It's a train,” you're the one who can see the opportunity, and you begin to create momentum.
We are momentum-based beings, that's why the third state is the one that is so fundamentally dangerous for us. It's when we're in full constraint. It's when the world has conspired against you and me or when we've conspired against ourselves. We don't see the way out or see forward; we feel completely and utterly stuck in place.
Here's what I know about being in momentum. You are physically, cognitively, and chemically boosted. You actually can do more. You think more clearly, and you have that chemical high of being in momentum. There is a reciprocal effect when we are in constraint. When we are in constraint, our bodies break down. You know if you've been there. You break down almost immediately. When we're in cognitive constraint, we get confused. It's harder for us to make decisions. When we are in constraint chemically, we are depressed, frustrated, upset, and we have an impossible time seeing how to move on.
This is so important for people like you and me; it's when we become symptomatic. This is when the exact attributes that make us successful, turn on us and can make us look like we are depressed, angry, frustrated, confused, ADD, ADHD, bipolar, Asperger's, autistic, megalomaniacal, and all the other shit that people like you and I get labeled all the time. These days it doesn't start when you're 18 years old; it begins when you're 18 months old. It's ridiculous what percentage of 14-year-old boys are on stimulants right now because they're momentum-based beings. They can't sit still for six hours, and you know, and I know that neither one of us could either.
We're different than the rest of the world. Entrepreneurial personality types are hard-wired momentum-based beings. If this meant something to you, do me a favor, share this article for me. More people need to hear this message and know they are not alone!