Why entrepreneurial spirit will never die

I didn’t go on holiday to a hot country until I was about 24.

There were a few things that I didn’t realise.

I wondered why anyone bothered wearing flip-flops. They looked silly.

I imagined myself walking over the sand and the pavements bare foot. No problem.

Of course when I arrived I soon realised that I was wrong.

The sand and the pavements were hot, hot, hot.

Which, in hindsight, seems kind of obvious.

So, with my friend in tow, I went to go buy some flip-flops.

We eventually found one of those gift shops that stock everything from football shirts to promiscuous fridge magnets.

But I couldn’t see any flip-flops.

I asked the shopkeeper who, after a moment’s consideration, retreated into the furthest corner of the shop.

He returned with a pair of flip-flops. They looked okay, although a tiny bit faded and dusty – but for the equivalent of a fiver I wasn’t complaining.

We emerged into the day and, once we got further up the beach, I noticed my friend was laughing.

“What?” I asked, perplexed.

“He didn’t have any flip-flops in the store” he said.

“Yes he did! He went in the back and got some…”

“No! Those were the ones he was wearing…”

No wonder they were faded and dusty.

And that, readers, is why entrepreneurial spirit will never die.

There’s always a way to make that sale.

(I still keep those flip-flops as a reminder that there’s always opportunity somewhere)

74% of the population suffer from this…

After a football match at University a friend of mine noticed that someone had left their jacket behind.

We’d been playing on an astro-turf pitch, and there were loads of other matches going on alongside us.

He held the jacket up, and announced loudly to everyone there (probably about 50 people); “has anyone lost their jacket?”

Sure enough, one of the guys came trotting over to collect it – thanking him as he went.

The next day we had to give a presentation as part of our course. It was my friend’s turn soon, I looked over and noticed that he was really nervous.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

He told me that he was terrified of public speaking (a phobia he shares with a reported 74% of the population!)

But, when you think about it, the crowd that he was about to be speaking to was made up of ten people – whereas, less than 24 hours ago, I’d seen him shouting to get the attention of 50+ people.

I told him this.

“Yeah, but I had something to say then…” he began.

“And you don’t have something to say now?”

He went on to deliver a great presentation. I’m not saying that I inspired him (my own presentation was most likely awful) but, sometimes it’s good to have someone on hand who’ll help you think about things in a different way.

Sure, maybe there’s more to say in a presentation than just ‘is this your jacket?’, but the principles are still the same.

You wouldn’t ask about the jacket if you didn’t think anyone wanted to know, so apply that same logic to your pitching or presentation.

Perspective. It’s a funny thing, right?

High Noon

Last night I watched the film High Noon. I really enjoyed it.

It was released in 1952 and is considered to be one of the best films ever made.

As a film buff I was kind of embarrassed not to have seen it.

Feel free to judge me…but, one of the reasons why I hadn’t is because it’s over 60 years old now and filmed in black and white.

I know. I know. I shouldn’t be so judgemental – but, how could something made in another era still appeal to me – a contemporary 21st century viewer?

I was wrong!

And do you know why?

Because the basic things that entertain and intrigue human beings haven’t changed.

Not in 60 years, not in 200 years and not in 500 years.

Sure we advance as a society and the technology with which we communicate and tell our stories changes – but the basic content doesn’t.

High Noon is about a man who stands up for what he believes in, even when all those around him abandon him.

At the end of the film there’s a classic good versus evil showdown. I can almost guarantee that not one viewer has ever been on the side of the bad guys in the film – humans just love an underdog!

Because, even though we’re not all good, we like to think we are.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the importance of perspective

Perspective is the key to telling stories and understanding the best ways to communicate with people.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one of the most famous authors of all time. He grew up in Russia during the 1800s and his books – such as Crime & Punishment, The Idiot and Demons are still widely read today.

One of Dostoyevsky’s biggest skills in his writing, asides from his storytelling, was his ability to talk so deeply and truly when it came to mortality.

Mortality is, of course, one of most prevalent human issues and something that we all have in the corner of our minds. So, if an author can talk about this well, they’ll often get our attention right away.

Why was Dostoyevsky so talented when it came to talking about mortality?


Because he had a perspective very few of us will ever be around to share.

He knew what those last few seconds before death felt like.

In 1849 the ruler of Russia at the time, Nicolas I, had banned a lot of famous literature because he was worried that it might stir up revolution.

Being classically non-conformist creatives, Dostoyevsky and his friends had decided to try and read those books. But, unfortunately for them, Nicolas I caught and arrested them.

They faced the death penalty…

So, on a cold day in Saint Petersburg, Dostoyevsky and his friends were blindfolded and lined up in front of a firing squad.

A few moments ticked by.

The Commander motioned for his men to take aim.

Dostoyevsky and co winced as they heard the soldiers preparing to fire.

Seconds before a plethora of triggers were pulled there came another sound…at first it sounded like heavy rain…but soon they realised that it was a horse & cart – approaching them at an electrifying pace.

Aboard the cart was a message from Nicolas I.

What was the message?

Simple. After some consideration Nicolas I had decided to imprison them rather than have them executed.

And, so they survived – and Dostoyevsky lived to write again.

But, this time he was armed with the knowledge of how those few hopeless moments before death felt. A perspective that few others had, and one that he could exploit in his writings.

As a writer, what perspectives do you have that no one else does?


by Ashley Brown 2018

 

Inspired by this great Quora article