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October 5, 2020

Why Entrepreneurship Is Less In Asia?

Note: While this post says it is about India/Asia, it might still be of importance to you. And if it does, I'd appreciate learning how it helped you or what is your take on this!

There is a gaping difference in percentages of Entrepreneurs when comparing India/Asia with America. There is one unsaid or unspoken reason to this -- family and society. No matter what you age is, you got to respect your elders, the society you live in, your superiors at workplace. While there is so much goodness to this specific trait in culture, with the passage of time this culture has become so shallow that its true essence is lost and is now more superficial and fragile, so much so that this is often confused with the notion that "dissent is disrespect"

Let me help you to see if you are part of this culture. Answer the following questions to the best of your honesty :)

  • When was the last time you said NO with all due respect, to your parents out of disagreement? 
  • When was the last time you said NO to your office meeting because of higher priority personal thing that you had to pay attention to.
  • When was the last time you said NO to your supervisor at work because you disagreed with him and engaged in meaningful conversation.
  • And oh yeah, did you ever disagree with your teacher in school, or college?
If you could get past this challenge of articulating NO in a convincing manner, you have crossed only half of this culture issue. Mid-way through the sail, the sea gets rougher and tougher, with changing climatic conditions. Unfortunately, a lot of this is never discussed to forewarn others and help them better prepare. May be that is how life is -- surprises and shocks are to be experienced, no matter how prepared you are. 

But what is this nightmare that I'm talking about? You know it, don't you?

I am talking about the repercussions of your saying NO. Even if you had said NO with all the right intentions, it could well be received badly. Remember, I mentioned that dissent is reckoned as disrespect, in our culture; with the loss of values what remains is this fragility. Think about all those circumstances that you have said NO. How was it received? Think of times when it had repercussions. Think of times it had ripple effects. How much it did it hurt you? How did you deal with it all?

This is what I call Hard Experience or Life Experience. Playing adventure sports is so much easier when compared to this one for sure, because as Bruce Lee had once said, "Boards don't hit back!".

There is science/logic, and there is a ton of art involved to making people listen to you before you can think of convincing them. And as with any art you are born with it if you are gifted, otherwise you have to acquire it with tons of practice.

Lastly, in spite of this all Asian cultural thing, I do see a ton of entrepreneurial ventures wherever I go in India, albeit not the one that formally fits in the organized sector or book definition of Forbes, so to say. More about this in another blog, some other time.

A Tad Bit About Me In This Context

I have done it all (saying NO to the above mentioned roles/parties in questions), not once but many times over. And tell you what, I continue to do it, and certainly not for the sake of disagreeing but with the best intention of learning by asking and having a conversation. Have I been lucky to not being misunderstood or not being beaten black-n-blue for this all the while? I confess, to have been through the bad times and worse with bad people. The bad news is that it did affect the prospects of easier life and made me weaker questioning my values. The good news is, I got over it sticking to the values becoming much more stronger, learning the art of story-telling and negotiating along the way. The brighter news is that the fear of failure is gone and the thirst for learning grew many folds.

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