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The importance of analogies

  • Published at 05:59 pm June 4th, 2013

Bangladesh has a great entrepreneurial spirit. The spirit has a wide spectrum of suited up big shots, politicians to the rickshaw pullers or the peanut sellers.The entrepreneurs or the “Banglapreneurs” are not blessed with a very conducive social, economic or political system, and yet they somehow make things happen!

Entrepreneurs are strange. They are driven by a passion that derives its roots either from extreme desire of wealth, fame, power or something unknown.

In their journey of passion, there are times they feel weak, alone, disheartened, demotivated, worthless, foolish, clueless and what not. It is those times they need motivation to continue on their path. And in a country where we look for a dark past for every successful entrepreneur, motivation is a must. To revive themselves from that extreme void surrounding them, most of the entrepreneurs look for anecdotes and analogies in real life, which resemble their current situation and entrepreneurs use them to overcome the current challenges.

Here are five simple analogies for entrepreneurs. Even if you are not an entrepreneur the points still might make sense.  

The fan analogy: What’s interesting about a fan? It’s that while we are turning on a fan we never wonder if it will turn on or not. The damn thing almost always turns on even after 20-30 years. How come a fan lasts so long and is this reliable even though it has moving parts? That’s because the fan is one of the simplest device you can think of. Even as kids we used to make fans from papers. It has a simple rotation, no friction, and no brakes. What a fan teaches us is to “keep things simple” if you want to last long. Simplify your operations, processes, technology, etc with minimal friction in your day-to-day business or for customers. If you are in “the boxing ring” every day you may want to look above at your fan and think hard on how to Simplify.  

The bot gaach analogy: the bot or the banyan, is an interesting tree and there is a lot to learn from it. The best thing about the Banyan tree is that it probably is one of those rare trees which cannot be uprooted even by an earthquake.The reason probably is before the Banyan grows above, it grows below in its roots to create a solid foundation. Not only that, a Banyan tree will in its lifecycle constantly create more roots in the ground, making the foundation better and firmer. Clearly what the Banyan tree teaches us is that before we scale up, we need to work on our foundation and make sure that it is strong enough. Also we should never lose sight of the root, even when we are growing up.

The water analogy: What water teaches is just amazing – when someone/something gives you cold shoulder or heated words, you should condense or throw away the bad elements, thus still being of great value and proving your worth. When you are faced with bad times, circumstances or people, sidestep the things/people who are hampering your growth and come out stronger than what you were. Become ice or the power steam from the water. Become more valuable when something bad strikes you. 

The “poop” analogy: It’s a fact that a child grows up not when he/she learns to start eating but when he/she starts to learn how to handle/control his/her excretory processes. Similarly an entrepreneur grows up when he/she learns how to handle all the “poop” around them which may be bad employees, political crisis, financial crisis, government regulatory actions, bad PR, social pressure, etc, etc. Never run away from it because every time you handle one, you grow up and get closer to success. Learn to handle adverse situations.  

The ghee analogy: It is interesting what ghee (clarified butter) can teach us more than just the fact that stirring (working) constantly will create ghee (read success) eventually. You have observed how ghee is produced; the most important aspect of it is that it suddenly starts to become ghee while you are stirring. Success will come suddenly, probably when you are almost about to quit or least expect it. Ghee teaches us to keep calm and keep stirring!

The next time you are down and need anecdotes to revive yourself, just look around. Who knows what may inspire you to get back into action.

Life is full of analogies, gather them as you walk on an entrepreneurial journey or any other path and pump up the spirit. 

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