You were born into an influential family. You went to the right kindergarten, the right grade school, the right college, and you party with the right people. You invented the phrase and the wink, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
You are a house cat.
You think desperation is an enemy that should be avoided at all costs. But who else can you turn to when you need to clear your mind, focus your thoughts, summon your courage, and unleash your creativity?
Desperation will do all of this for you, and more.
Desperation is the friend and the ally of every alley cat.
Desperation is the mark of every true entrepreneur.
Have I angered you? I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intention. I was just hoping to encourage those friends who are facing deadly peril, whose options are limited, whose bank accounts are depleted, whose backs are against the wall.
That’s never been you? Oh… now I see why you’re angry.
You’ve never really had an adventure.
In 1992, I helped a friend launch a company that he later sold for $68 million. I can still remember several occasions when his circumstances became so painful that he said he wanted to “curl up in the fetal position.”
A few years later, I helped a friend who is brilliant, disciplined, and highly organized. He sees situations clearly and has remarkable judgment. When his company sold for $125 million, I pointed these traits out to him as the reasons his company had thrived. He looked at me very sincerely and without a trace of humor shook his head and said, “No, it was desperation.”
“I have often fallen into a doom loop, convinced that I was about to lose everything.” These are the words of a friend whose company revenues are rapidly approaching $1 billion a year.
One friend whose net worth is currently more than $2.5 billion speaks of a time 20 years ago when cash was so tight that, “I lived in a tent with my wife and children in the back of our little shop.”
These are only 4 of the 400 true entrepreneurs I have known.
I’ve never met a self-made person who didn’t have stories of desperation.
Stress and trouble are the unmistakable signs of adventure.
“When we’re safe at home we wish we were having an adventure. But when we’re having an adventure, we wish we were safe at home.”
– Thornton Wilder
Don Quixote saw beauty in Dulcinea when everyone else saw commonness, so he decided to be her champion. And because he was tired of being safe at home, he went looking for adventure. The balance of his epic book are the tales of his battles: his victories and his defeats, his parades and his embarrassments, his glistening moments of accomplishment and his painful regrets. Quixote challenged lions, fought giants, and struggled with adversaries on every side.
“And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest.”
“And the world will be better for this;
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.” 1
“Scorned and covered with scars…” describes every true entrepreneur.
People often ask why I am attracted to Don Quixote. Here is my answer:
Don Quixote was a house cat
who decided to become
an alley cat.
Roy H. Williams
1 from The Quest, also known as The Impossible Dream, from Man of La Mancha, a 1972 play about Don Quixote. Lyrics by Joe Darion.
What do Michael Vick, Roy Disney, Rush Limbaugh, the Church of Scientology, and Michael Jackson have in common? They, along with more than 1,000 other high-profile individuals and organizations telephoned “The Fixer” when they found themselves in a media storm. “The Fixer” is public relations guru Michael Sitrick, and he is roving reporter Rotbart’s guest this week at MondayMorningRadio.com.