Starting a business , i.e. being a start-up, requires a good deal of courage and willingness to take risks , because not every project will be successful. The line between happiness and unhappiness, between high and low, is narrow. Decisions have to be made every day that radically influence the company's progress and that could - even more so - turn an equilibrium into an extreme situation. The founder of a new business therefore has to worry at certain points not only about his company, but also about his existence.
Be or have?In his book of the same name, Erich Fromm distinguishes between “having or being.” “In the mode of existence of having, the relationship to the world is that of possessing and possessing. (...) In the mode of existence of being, the opposite of "appearance" is captured - the true reality, like the true nature of a human being." Just as Fromm describes, so too does the founder with the polarity between being ( "I do that which corresponds to my I, my self”) and having (“Am I successful with my actions. Do I accumulate enough possessions?”) . He has to take stock almost every day - in front of investors, journalists, employees, friends, and in the process confront this polarity between being and having and set the benchmark for his own success. The seemingly harmless “How is your job going” acquires a complexity that the inexperienced questioner would hardly dare to suspect. Since a comprehensive situation analysis is usually not expected, a meager “Everything is fine...” is the perfect answer.
Be or have?
No matter what the status quo actually looks like, the questioner will always enjoy a positive answer that fits the success story. Because success is always welcome, while its dark side, failure, is a social taboo.
Lotao's third birthday , which took place a few days ago, is a great success for me personally and perhaps that is precisely why dealing with the other side of this topic is so important to me: Hardly anyone wants to deal with failure, at least that has been my experience so far Experience in talking to other founders. If you compare failure with the taboo topic of “death”, you find an exciting difference: There are people who choose death voluntarily, who decide for it. This is not the case with failure, as failure is seen as a painful experience and is therefore rarely done intentionally. Given the dynamics of social success, it is not surprising that those who fail are completely invisible and only become visible again when they are granted success. “He was at the bottom, and now he’s at the top again.” Failure only becomes visible in the context of a success story. The silence on the subject of failure is all the more remarkable given that old-age poverty in Germany is highest among self-employed entrepreneurs (source: KG, 2013) - that is, a large number of founders are unfortunately unable to reach the (economic) “top” again. But who decides where “up” is? Who defines failure or failure? Ultimately, the perspective from which we approach the topic is the decisive factor: in the world of “having,” according to Erich Fromm, failure corresponds to an empty cash register; in the world of “being,” self-deception, self-lying, corresponds. Or to put it another way: Is it a failure if I neglect my friends and my social life? Will I fail if my farmers can't sell their crops? Or is the account balance the measure of things? No matter which perspective is chosen, one thing is clear: remaining silent and not reflecting on failure deprives us of a valuable experience and perhaps also blocks our view of other, new options in life. On Lotao's third birthday, I would like to address these personal thoughts primarily to those who are working on realizing their vision and those who want to reflect on the dialectic of having and being. I would really be very happy if you sent me your feedback on the topic, even if it was just a simple “Everything is fine...” ;) Your Risolier Stefan Fak