I’m not delusional; i’m an entrepreneur


I started my first company in a state of innocence, inexperience, and naivete. I had no idea what it would take. I had no idea what I didn’t know and I had no idea what to expect.

This time around I know all those things. I know what to expect. I know what I don’t know. And I know what it’ll take. I know how gut-wrenchingly difficult it is. I know the price, the pain, and the sacrifice.

Most rational, sane people would not go down this path once, let alone twice. Yet here I am, going down this path…again. Why am I doing this?

I’ve come to the realization that it’s because i’m different. I have a condition: i’m delusional. My sense of reality is distorted and i’m border-line insane.

For better or worse, my mind is programmed to ignore the chaos all around me — the risk, the cost, the pain, the disappointment, the heartbreak. My mind simply just blocks it out. I’m living in a fantasy world. A world where I always seem to get what I want and where I always win.

In the past couple weeks, i’ve had a few conversations with non-startup friends asking about startup life. Sometimes they remind me of what’s at stake and all the things that can go wrong. They remind me how crazy I am, in the nicest possible way.

When things go wrong, sometimes big and sometimes small, I see glimpses of that reality. I see the world as they see. The risk. The recklessness. The obsession. The possibilities of failure. The collapsing walls around me. The reality.

And I panic. I wig out. I question myself, my vision, my everything. It’s a terrifying feeling. It’s a nightmare.

Then I wake up the next morning…

And somehow, someway… it’s all gone.

I’m back to my fantasy world. Back to my dream where everything is going to plan. The woes of yesterday are history. I will make this work — brute force if necessary.

Most entrepreneurs are a little bit delusional. We live in our own little world and see things in our own way. It’s a fascinating condition. As sure as the sun comes up, we’re recharged and refreshed. We’re ready to take on today’s Goliath, again and again and again. We ignore the battle scars, no matter how deep they may run. We’re relentless in our pursuit.

It’s one of the many miracles of entrepreneurship. We always bounce back. We continue marching on. We’re limitless.

I love this game. Ooh rah.

  • http://twitter.com/jeremy_page Jeremy Page

    Awesome words.  The only difference is I usually feel good in the evenings and wake up in a low, panicked state.  But like you said, that miracle of entrepreneurship always gets us back on track.  That borderline-insane, right track.

    • http://www.mickhagen.com/ Mick Hagen

      Exactly! Sorry took me so long to respond. Thanks for the comment.

  • Vinayak


    Its interesting to read this article and realize that entrepreneurs across the globe have the same set of chromosomes ! I started my firm with absolutely nothing in my pocket. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me . You are at your creative / innovative best when you dont have that cash to spend . Its in your system to be innovate efficiency at every step of the way . You learn how to create value for not only the people who work with you but your clients as well. 

    I have gone through the labor of conceiving my baby .. i cant abandon it now , i work hard every  day to see it grow and create value for people at the grass roots. I run my firm with the Gandhian philosophy of ” how to create more value from less for more people ” and nothing gives me more joy to live and inspire others to take this route. 

    there is only one way .. and.. thats moving forward ! 

  • Victoria Shkeniova

    Im so happy to read this article. For a while, I thought I was living in a “fantasy world” while running my business. Some days I feel terrible, thinking “Am I the only one who thinks this thing will work and go big?” Progress is coming, bit by bit. Slowely but surely. It is hard when many don’t see your business as a great idea and look at you like you are “delusional”.  Sometimes it makes you question things, sends you into panic mode thinking “Am I wasting my time? Will I take my business to the next level?”, but then again, you calm yourself down and go back into your own state of mind saying “I will succeed no matter what it takes. It is too late to go back. It”s an addiction and it is a challenge.”  Thank you for a wonderful post, greatly appreciated.  All your articles are helpful!

  • http://www.guotime.com/2012/03/3-simple-ways-to-stay-inspired-motivated-as-an-entrepreneur/ grant

    Thanks for this article. Well written and reads like a poem.

    • http://www.mickhagen.com/ Mick Hagen

      Glad you like it Grant. 

  • Mike

    I LOL’ed enough times This part got to me most
    “And I panic. I wig out. I question myself, my vision, my everything. It’s a terrifying feeling. It’s a nightmare. Then I wake up the next morning…And somehow, someway… it’s all gone. I’m back to my fantasy world.”

    It happens just like that. I’m now on to my third startup. Problem is i’m 21 and college is not working for me. I have faced so much opposition forom the family that i almost split the whole clan into two. I’m onto a huge startup that has VERY big partners when it launches (private beta now) but even that has not been enough to have everyone agree and college is destroying the startups’s progress. One partner withdrew citing lack of seriousness and i fear i’ll lose more :/

  • Jonathan Marsh

    Thank you! I am indeed one of the same. I’m pretty sure we are all related somehow. Like a big happy, but yet
    very crazy family!

  • Jacob

    Im 19 and I have some really hefty goals, dreams, and ambitions, and this similar attitude that has gotten me into some troubles over the years. So many times teachers, coaches, and bosses tell me I am like how you describe above, but I need to go about things the “right” way, which is their way, or a way that doesnt cause a disruption with the natural flow of things. And Dreams and goals that when I tell people them, they laugh, saying they aren’t realistic and I am setting myself up for failure, but nonetheless, things I believe are possible. Ive put my character and attitude into these words before, except I actually have questioned my sanity and perception of reality in a way that has almost made me believe I actually am delusional or not rational/logical. After hearing another successful person put it all into words like this, I realize, and have more affirmation, that we were born with this “delusion” and reckless ambition for a reason. I know I stumbled on this article late, but it was great.