The First Koan of Zenful Entrepreneurship

A Billionaire serial-entrepreneur and legitimate magnate had a university professor who came to inquire about entrepreneurial success.

wine glassThe Billionaire served 2 glasses of wine. He poured the professor’s glass full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “What are you doing! I knew you were nuts!”

“Like this glass,” the entrepreneur said, “you are full of your own assumptions. How can I show you the Way unless you first empty your glass of your own opinions and preconceptions?”


Commentary:  Ego is the source of all fears and frailities that make leadership small. We must release ego. As entrepreneurs, we all naturally have strong opinions about the World, we all have assumptions that we guard with fear or ignore with our own form of brave, optimistic delusions. We must embrace Integral beingness. Intense present awareness. A Integral Theories of Entrepreneurship Education.

Deep-Dive:  We should keep an open-mind, always. We tend to bring our egos into whatever we have to deal with on a daily basis and our prejudices (both positive and negative) color how we see the world, and even positive assumptions can limit the extent to which we’re able to maximize our fulfillment in life.  In ’emptying our cups’ we can look at our experiences with a fresh perspective and not worry about the symbols and ideas we often associate with things.  So, if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you must live in the present moment, it’s important to abandon judgment and allow others to fill your wine glass with new wine instead of always sipping on your old wine.

Put into Practice:  A good way to start to do this is through meditation, which helps with mindfulness and trains your mind to be more neutral and calm in its assessment of what you’re experiencing.  Human-centered-design is a potential path to learn from. It is helpful to focus deeply on taking on the perspective of the ‘other.’ Practice this in all situations…the next time you meet someone, seek to have intense empathy with the other person, and really try and imagine yourself in their shoes before blurting out your own opinion.

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