Thought Leadership

The Melting Pot Called Entrepreneurship

December 2022

The Melting Pot Called Entrepreneurship

This year's final edition focuses on inclusive entrepreneurship to achieve a sustainable economy where all may prosper in an equal and just society. Our country's goal in promoting inclusive entrepreneurship is to achieve success by ensuring that South Africa's economy thrives through sustainable entrepreneurship. It focuses on preserving nature and life and developing sustainable communities that create new products, processes, and services for the benefit of all.

Entrepreneurship entails action, and before one can act, one needs knowledge as motivation to form the belief that an opportunity exists. An entrepreneurial mind set thinks structurally and does not get distracted by superficial features. It identifies opportunities where some exist, but some people approach tasks by looking at what they have, combining that with their skills, and making an informed choice among the possible outcomes. Adversely, only a few expert entrepreneurs consider opportunities effectually that aid in making complex decisions in uncertain situations.

With the introduction of entrepreneurship in the twenty-first century, a new way of life emerged. This trend, now the backbone of South Africa's economy, has numerous advantages that benefit the environment, our society and the country's global economic standing. However, there is always a pessimistic view, where an optimistic one resides; they are simply two in one, powered by each other.

Stress can be a huge factor in the success or failure of an individual's business. Dr Palesa Mahlangu expresses the importance of maintaining good mental and physical well-being, especially for those who face the daily pressures attached to the entrepreneurial journey. She urges society, as a whole, to refrain from judging physically disabled people and those with mental health issues based on their disability rather than on their capabilities. One way to be stress-free is by managing time effectively, which means that an individual must prioritize what requires immediate attention and realize that it is okay to leave what is unfinished for the following day. Relaxation is essential. Dr Mahlangu says that entrepreneurs must always respect the Labour laws and give themselves a much-deserved break. As a society, we must rethink inclusion strategies and redefine the language we communicate. She says entrepreneurs must have the patience to work diligently at what they seek to achieve without overdoing it.

When discussing inclusive entrepreneurship, it is crucial to understand that entrepreneurs represent everyone in society, regardless of race, age, or creed. ADHD and autism have for too long been painted in a negative light. However, there is increasing evidence that individuals characterized by these traits can excel in work environments conducive to their capabilities. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is often considered a potential contributor to becoming self-employed. Originating from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image, narcissists have an overwhelming need to feel admired. They are typically self-important, arrogant and demanding, and they don't take kindly to criticism. The self-love cult, like so many others of the 1970s, spun out of control and now runs rampant through our culture like a tyrant.

While many entrepreneurs with narcissistic tendencies have achieved remarkable success, such as Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart, and Elon Musk, these are likely the exception rather than the rule. Narcissists, particularly those suffering from pathological manifestations, simply have too many negative characteristics that can eventually outweigh the positive. Like everyone else, those who put in the actual work to build a business are a mixed bag. There are some huge egos among founders, but there's little reason to believe that real-world entrepreneurial success and narcissism are mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, today, what we see controls our minds. The media's portrayal of famous entrepreneurs is designed to either shine a positive light on their lives or cast a negative shadow over them, thereby controlling our perceptions. We see 10% of narcissists who succeed and label them "visionaries," but what about the other 90% who flame out and cause irreparable harm? Elon Musk, South Africa's very own, has been cast in the spotlight on several occasions, especially in recent days, with people calling him both good and bad. Jeff Bezos is named, “a wicked and cruel man," while Steve Jobs has been described as a humble narcissist.

Surprisingly, it appears that the more problems one has, the more resilient one becomes as they are taught to handle a plethora of different problems. We must be consistent in our efforts to make positive contributions to the economy of our Rainbow nation, regardless of the colour of our distinguishing characteristics or the height of our vulnerability levels in our mental toughness. This might possibly be the secret ingredient to entrepreneurial success.

In the end, what matters most are the effects entrepreneurs have on the environment, society, and economy. Every entrepreneur's focus should be on creating positive influences and doing everything possible to make the world a better place. The question is: how do you help eradicate poverty and do your business ethics correspond to reducing the carbon footprint? What are you doing to aid in diversifying our country and how are you promoting inclusive entrepreneurship for a better tomorrow?

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