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The Biggest Killer of Innovation in Entrepreneurship

Few entrepreneurs like to admit it, but we’re a particularly ego-driven bunch. Entrepreneurship is a perilous journey of high risk and reward. One that always begins with:

  • “I want to leave a legacy.”
  • “I want to take more control of my life.”
  • “I want financial freedom.”
  • “I want to work for a cause that no other business supports.”

Even if these reasons seem generally selfless, there is no success without a sense of self. And the sense of self is the ego. Even with a reason like, “I want to help people live better lives,” there is still the pesky “I” there. There is still an entity that desires, and that entity can experience the pain of failure.

So, you can fail to help people live better lives. You can fail to leave a legacy. You can fail to take more control of your life. And you can fail to win financial freedom and make money off of a cause that no other business supports.

I am no exception. I am an entrepreneur because “I wish to repair and rebuild my culture.” And I can fail at doing this.

Ego, in and of itself, is not a bad thing in the world of business; it’s vital, in fact. It takes ambition to dream. To strive through the stress, ups and downs of entrepreneurship. To embrace the reward of one’s own hard work. It takes courage to dare and risk for that reward, to begin with. To choose the path less traveled.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship: What Is Needed

What poisons entrepreneurs is not their ego in and of itself; it’s when ego turns into narcissism. And narcissism is blinding. It cuts one off from the benefits of constructive criticism. It closes ears to alternative paths to success that one may not want to hear. Narcissism caps one’s progress by preventing them from bending the knee to a mentor. It distances one from their own customers and clients needed to stay in business.

The greatest entrepreneurs are those who have an ego, but can swallow it for the needs of their customers and their team. Therefore, they are able to remain open to change and unexpected paths to success that they may not like.

Like the world famous video-game developer, Hideo Kojima, said: “Innovate, or die.”

Meanwhile, world renown neuroscientist Beau Lotto said: “Creativity is a manner of being.”

As a result, the organisms best fit for survival, even businesses, are those that can adapt.

However, you cannot adapt unless you’re able to innovate. You cannot innovate unless you are creative. And you cannot be creative unless you’re open to experience.

That is because narcissism closes your openness to experience. Thus, narcissism minimizes your chances for survival in not only the world of business, but life itself.

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