Entrepreneurs and the dreaded 'S' word

  • Business
  • Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014

Generational: Is there a difference in the way older and younger people think of stress these days? - AZMAN GHANI / The Star

THE word ‘stress’ is a bit overused these days”, I remarked to a colleague recently.

I was telling her that I kept seeing that word on Facebook posts and hearing people say it whenever they encounter difficulties or challenges, especially among the younger generation (okay, I may be generalising here and not all young people are like that).

I told my colleague, when people my age went through challenges in our younger days, we rarely said we were stressed.

I wondered aloud why.

Being a rather young person herself, my colleague said perhaps the young generation these days are more expressive.

They openly express the way they feel and think, hence, they will more often say they are stressed.

While there may be some truth in that view, I told her it might also because people from my generation have a higher tolerance for challenges.

We did not equate challenges with stress. We just saw it as something normal and part of life.

Perhaps the situation is similar to people who live in countries where there are four seasons knowing that it will not always be bright and sunny 365 days a year.

They go through the cold season as though it is part of life. But for someone who has not experienced winter before, when they do, they will feel the cold much more than others.

So it is just like many of the young people from the urban areas these days who have not experienced difficulties and the lack of material comfort.

Most working parents now try to provide for their children as much as possible.

In my time (and I am not that ancient yet), when we wanted something, be it a car, a phone or to further our studies, we needed to work for it.

This isn’t necessarily the case for many of the young these days.

Reflecting on this also got me to think about the difference between an employee and an entrepreneur.

One of my current interns shared that she had always thought that bosses do not need to work at all.

She has the misconception that all bosses need to do is look good in expensive suits, drive their expensive cars and just order people around.

After starting her internship with my company, she discovered this to be not true at all, seeing how hands-on I am in the business and the hours I work.

I explained to her that is because there are many type of bosses. Some bosses are employees who are paid to run a company or a department.

Others are entrepreneurs who do not see what they do for their companies as work per se but as an investment. They know they will reap what they sow. All bosses undergo stressful moments, I think.

But why is it that we seldom hear an entrepreneur complain about work or stress?

I am a young entrepreneur, but I think it is because true entrepreneurs “never say die”.

Personally every time I go through a challenging situation, my first reaction was to think of how to overcome and triumph over it. Yes, we can feel down because we are humans after all but I believe true entrepreneurs focus on solving the problem, rather than on the problem.

When all attempts fail and all means have been exhausted, we move on.

We start anew. But we will never complain about stress.

Perhaps we are driven by passion and a strong belief in what we have to offer to the world.

Recently I attended a talk organised by The Star, where Datin Winnie Loo from A Cut Above Group of Salons shared her 35 years in business.

She talked about her humble beginnings and the difficulties she faced when she was starting out.

Today, 35 years on, she has become an icon in the hair-styling industry worldwide and she is still eager to be better and do more. Does she and has she ever complained about stress of doing new and challenging things? Perhaps not.

When it comes to entrepreneurs like her, Sir Richard Branson, and others too many to be named, I think the word “stress” does not exist in their dictionary.

n Jeanisha believes that while most entrepreneurs have boundless enthusiasm, they are humans after all. Sometimes they wish their employees would motivate them with a ‘Well done, good job’ too. Reach her at talk2jeanisha@gmail.com.

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