You don’t need money or a rich family to become an entrepreneur.
Taking the leap to start a company requires, more than anything, confidence & self-belief. Money does not automatically endow its holder with self-confidence.
But poverty, even after it’s gone, imprints insecurity onto the mind.
Poverty leaves a scar.
If you’ve never been poor, it is easier to take big risks Because you have no fear.
Being poor isn’t the same as being broke.
Poor = your life options & decisions are limited due to money. You can’t afford the school or medicine that you need.
Broke = you don’t have much or any money right now, but your life trajectory is not altered by lack of money.
I’ve been broke many times in my life and it wasn’t a big deal.
Being poor was a different. My experience with poverty, however limited, destroyed my confidence and left scars.
Most people in Silicon Valley have been broke at some point in their life; few have been poor.
The Airbnb guys were broke, not poor. Big difference.
You don’t need rich parents to start a world-changing technology company.
But you do need confidence.
The former can help with the latter though.
That, I believe, is why––on a relative basis––so few many children of the affluent start companies. It’s not about having an actual financial safety net so much as it is about the mindset that having been raised with a safety net endows you with, a mindset of abundance versus scarcity.
The crazy thing is: The scarcity mindset doesn’t disappear just because you acquire abundant resources, like say the irrevocable earning power that comes with a fancy education.
You balance sheet might be rich, but your brain is still poor.
This was my dad’s story. Grew up dirt poor in New Mexico during the Depression. Oppressed. Discriminated against. Angry. Joined the Air Force. Went to community college. Transferred to UCLA. Graduated as one of 3 (!) brown people in his class. Worked pipeline construction through undergrad and grad school. Master’s. PhD. But he clutched to his economic security, refusing to take financial risks. Which frankly is a little surprising because he was such a risk taker in other aspects of his life.
The scarcity mindset runs deep.
And it holds people––and our country––back from realizing its true potential. We, as a society, are the losers in this equation.
Anyone got ideas on how to fix this?