Personal Legends & Raison d'etre
One of my all time favorite quotes about entrepreneurship is "The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
If it were easy, everyone would jump in the arena. Be proud of the dust on your face for it shows you’re in the arena.
One great book about the entrepreneurial journey is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. He talks about one’s greatest purpose is to find their ‘personal legend’.
The main idea behind this is to pursue your dreams by following what your heart desires.
Steve Jobs said something similar:
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
That no matter what life throws, even through major obstacles and challenges, the key is to listen to your heart and continue to follow your own personal legend.
Once you’re able to define your dream, each day can be in motion toward that destination. In The Alchemist, it was said:
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it
One of my mentors shared the phrase with me the word: Raison d'etre. It means:
The most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence.
This is exactly like the person legend. We all become stronger when we have one. We can tap into flow and have a true north star.
I can’t say I have a strong personal legend or raison d'etre right now. I am seeking it, and it something that I have been thinking a lot about.
To me, this idea that if we are able to educate our children better we can change the world in a generation. The power of the internet, the broken college system, and how brilliant every human mind is, makes me believe there is incredible opportunity to be unlocked.
While I may feel some inspiration to education today, I am not sure how I will feel tomorrow. I am trying to be more attentive to my heart and soul for what it really speaks to me.
Because ultimately, to find this personal legend, is through truly being unique to yourself.