The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur Reading: Spring
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The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur Reading: Spring

The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur Reading: Spring

By John Jantsch

This week marks the launch of my latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur. Each day this week, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the book. Please enjoy this selection from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, along with my commentary relating it back to entrepreneurship, plus a challenge question for you to ponder.


“The force of nature. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a person does not keep pace with their companions, perhaps it is because they hear a different drummer. Let them step to the music which they hear, however measured or far away. It is not important that you should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Shall you turn your spring into summer?”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Nature has no desire to succeed. One season inevitably folds into the next, a year marked by changes in weather, ecology, and daylight, no matter how much force we might exert to contain it. If we attempted to mimic nature, one thing is for sure; we would release the need to control any aspect of our lives. We would give into what naturally needs to happen. This is a fundamental element of self-reliance, and ironically, by releasing the need to control, we eventually find that we gain access to greater control.

Think about the last time you forced or tried to force something to happen. How did that feel? How did it turn out? If you succeeded, did the result last? Now, think about the last time something came into your life by way of what felt like luck. Isn’t it possible that your lack of control actually created what you characterized as luck? Your letting go created your fate. Today, and as you journey throughout life, consider the many things on your path that worked out well for you, even though you didn’t or couldn’t control them. Listen closely for this tone, for it is your beat, the beat of your different drummer.

Your challenge question: Can you describe a time you benefited from luck? What did it feel like?

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