There is this great quote from a sci-fi novel (Breach by Elliot Peper) that I read earlier this year:
“Sometimes it’s just another fight, and sometimes it gets inside your head. Doesn’t matter how many times you do it or how jaded you think you get. Demons are vermin. They don’t try to breach your walls, they live inside them.”
When I stumbled onto this quote in my notebook today, it got me thinking about how most of the challenges that I face in my life or work or business, are already living within me. Almost as if it is part of me.
And it wasn't some kind of macro or external event that just happened to me. The vermin didn't break down the walls and breached this inner sanctum of my mind. The demons were already there and with some actions I also fed it, keeping it alive.
The best example I have of this is the very genesis of my entrepreneurial journey. I was not content being employed or just working for "The Man". I decided to set out on a different path and in doing so, I also implicitly accepted all of the consequences, hardships and rollercoaster rides that came thereafter.
I'm first to admit that comparing the choice of an entrepreneurial path to that of demons and vermin might be a stretch and exaggeration. I believe that what is also true is that we can't merely point out the external truths that makes "being an entrepreneur" really tough. The first part and ultimate source of why it is tough being an entrepreneur, starts within ourselves and with parts of who we are that are already just present.
Nobody forced you to do this, because nobody forced you to be who you are. (Or aspire to be, for that matter.)
Whatever your exact origin story is, you still started at a point where whatever imperfections were living within your walls was also and already present.
As I reflect on my own entrepreneurial journey, I do wonder whether a greater acceptance of this vermin in my house, would've helped me navigate some of the challenges I faced easier and in a way that mentally, emotionally and physically cost me less.
What I know today is that I conflated many issues and challenges, because it was easier to point my finger at something or someone else, instead of accepting that these were firstly a result of the path I had willingly chosen for myself.
In taking that responsibility - even now, in hindsight and in self reflecting - there is some space, solace and freedom.
This was never me against the world. It has always just been me with myself. (Which admittedly has included many questions, imperfections, demons and vermin too.)