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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Entrepreneurs, Sports Fans & Irrational Behaviour

Being a spectator at a sports game is a weird thing.<...>

You've made the decision to invest your time to watch the game. You do so, because you enjoy your team winning and them winning is almost the reward for you supporting them.

The weird thing about that is that your team might end up losing. In that case, you would have had none of the fun and reward associated with winning (you know: that thing that you'd love to have).

Sure, you can tell me that it was about the experience itself and that you enjoyed just watching the game.

If that were true, I'd implore you to walk away from the game before it ends and before it is clear who'll be the victor.

If that doesn't bother you in one bit, then you're a better man / woman than me.


I didn't want to talk about sports this morning, but as a Manchester United supporter (for 18-odd years) now, I've endured a little bit of a rough season.

The results haven't been great and my team have slipped to (sometimes embarrassing) losses around every corner. The neutrals would point to a new coach (the first change in 27 years), an ageing team past their prime, some bad luck and generally, uninspiring performances.

This has sucked. Yet, I've watched every single game this season thus far.

I wouldn't consider myself a winner at all costs in the way where the only way for me to be happy or experience joy is a victory. But I have to admit that after every, crushing defeat, it's not like I feel happy or energized.

The experience of supporting my team when they're losing - and regularly at that - has been draining, because the investment-reward ratio is off at the moment.


This is what entrepreneurship is like most of the time.

I've not met one entrepreneur in my life that didn't share an intense passion for whatever they were pursuing. That pursuit could be money, freedom, balance, fame or to change the world.

Entrepreneurs are so incredibly passionate about that pursuit, that they are willing to accept all of the challenges and other shit associated with the eventual achievement of the goal.

Just like sports though, there's no guarantee of winning the game and by the end of it, you might've made the investment without getting the reward.

That's why they say that entrepreneurs are the only people willing to work 80 hours a week so that they may eventually work 40 hours a week.

Being an entrepreneur is an irrational choice to a large extent. Entrepreneurs do so many things and make so many compromises with the hope that they'll eventually get to a pay-day that's large enough to justify all of these costs and sacrifices along the way.

And even once they've failed to do that, they just try again with the same hope, renewed vigour and an augmented sense of what not to do this time.

This isn't gonna change any time soon and it likely just is what it is.

Heck, being somewhat irrational in how we make choices has probably become a requirement to being an entrepreneur.

As soon as we start thinking about the pain associated with this journey, we'd probably never start something again. That pain is a very rational thing and if anyone were to opt out of being an entrepreneur based on that pain, that'd be making a very obvious choice.

Yet, entrepreneurs have a complete disregard for that.

That's just like sports.

And why I'll be in front of the television this coming week when my team goes to battle again.

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