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The Entrepreneurial Dream

“The Art of Dreaming is the capacity to remember the future.”

 This article is dedicated to the young visionaries, and in special to my friend Burak Büyükdemir and to all the kids in and out E-Tohum who nurture an entrepreneurial dream.

As a sociologist and writer, I have been searching for the common denominator of leadership to find out what are the psychological traits and personal features that make the Leader a one-off, a unique individual. Where his strength, charisma, intuition and unwavering trust in himself come from? From culture, family, education, life experience, survival wisdom or from somewhere else?

I have explored and studied what motivates a scientist to strive and work restlessly to chase a scientific discovery, what is the quintessential force behind a political leader who believes in and fights for his ideas putting his life at risk for them, or what is the nature of the insights and the instinctive feelings of a businessman who puts at stake his resources and reputation in a risky endeavour.

Meeting visionaries and pragmatic dreamers all over the world, in business as in politics, studying their lives, words and deeds, I have discovered that these people are all joined by the common development of two higher senses; a sixth one: intuition, and a seventh sense: dreaming.

As impossible as it may appear, they seem to possess the mysterious capacity to ‘remember the future’. I mean that, in however arcane a fashion, they seem to know the happy ending of their ‘life-movie’. This is how I reached the conclusion that the Art of Dreaming is the capacity of ‘remembering’ the Future.

In the last years I have focused my research on a special kind of dream: the entrepreneurial Dream. According to my findings a true entrepreneur is a rebel spirit, a natural-born enemy of status quo, capable to put at stake his resources and reputation to break apart pre-existing schemes with the aim to create new balances that would be more profitable in terms of personal goals and social objectives.

In particular I have been fascinated by the essence of the entrepreneurial dream, the aspiration to be the captain of a vessel to cut through the seven seas of business, to take responsibility for those who will be part of it, to conquer the world, expanding beyond geography and cultures, and feel the pride to create wealth for oneself and the others.

What I have discovered is that the search for a profit – the desire to make money is not the main motivation in developing a business, or in creating new ventures. A true entrepreneur thinks of himself as a man at the service of an evolutionary project. Looking after his people, serving them, and loving them are his real tasks. He considers their improvement as his most concrete success.

In this spirit, the decision to be an entrepreneur reveals itself to be very close to a laic call – a vocation – and the leadership of an enterprise can be envisaged as a mission to be carried out with ethics and absolute integrity. The life of a real entrepreneur should be dedicated and totally committed to his organisation. As the captains of the ancient vessels, he must bring his ship back to the harbour, doesn’t matter what. He is bound to this supreme duty by an iron law and code of honour, never written but always applied through the centuries: If the ship sinks the captain must sink with it.

Most of you, especially start-uppers, aspiring entrepreneurs, hold in the back of their minds the belief that finally the real limit to the realization of an entrepreneurial dream is always the same: to find the financial resources to kick it off. One might have a most beautiful vision and a revolutionary business idea, nevertheless everything arrives to the bottle-neck of finding investors who are willing to bet on it and support the creation of his enterprise.

In reality, if we look at the building up of any enterprise, from the smallest start-up to the greatest projects of mankind, we can realize that the main obstacle over which they stumble and fall is not the lack of financing or material resources, but the lack of true leaders capable of approaching business with competence and honesty, driven by ethics and integrity, who feel themselves to be honour-bound to a mission, at the service of a noble cause.

In my observation the vision comes always  first and the financial resources follow. In the millennia-old race between Dream and Money, money has always come in last. Hence you have not to worry about how the resources will arrive. A real Dream has built in the capacity to come true. As a matter of fact it is already true. We need just some time to go by and make it visible.

In the words of George Koukis, the founder of Temenos, the world leader of the banking software: To give new life and lead my first enterprise from a small start up into a leading multinational company, ranked number one in its sector, I had only three things at my disposal: The name, my dream and no money.

(A Dream for the World by Stefano D’Anna – Turkish Edition, Sinedie 2013)

 As much as this last statement from George Koukis might seem paradoxical, it could be considered the formulation of a great law of business: if you love your dream you will attract all the money that you need. It will arrive to you, effortlessly, timely and unfailingly.

Finally, I would like to face the critical issue related to the short life of companies in general and of start-ups in special. I firmly hold the belief that the failure of an enterprise starts always from a crack in the integrity of its leader. The only way for an entrepreneur to fail is to surrender, to give up his dream.  What you should never do.

Not everybody can be a leader and there is nothing wrong with that. But once that you decide to be one love your dream and commit yourself never letting any fear or doubt to dıvert you from your great purpose, from the aim of your life.

Love your dream, believe in it with all your strength, it will come true.

On December 2nd, 2010, Prof. Stefano D’Anna left his position as Rector in London, stepped down as Vice President of the ESE Foundation in New York, and reduced any other commitment in order to nurture his new dream: to create a School without walls and without books, a most advanced leadership Program for the preparation of a new breed of Leaders for the World. Its aim is to teach to specially selected students a sense of greatness, unlimited love for freedom, ethics and an incorruptible integrity.

If you have the dream to be a leader for the world, to be a protagonist of the economic growth and human development of all nations, doesn’t matter which continent you come from, what is your background, previous studies, your culture, religion, or tradition. Apply to be a part of the Entrepreneurial Dream Program and come for the selections.

─ October 23, 2013