What’s in your DNA?

Published May 19, 2021, 12:10 AM

by Former Senate President Manny Villar

OF TREES AND FOREST

Former Senate President
Manny Villar

I was reviewing my new website (www.mannyvillar.com.ph) that we recently launched. It is a beautiful website that includes information about myself and what we have built over the years in terms of our business. It is meant to inform but more importantly I hope it can inspire young people to pursue entrepreneurship as a vocation. What people see now — the success, the accolades, etc., — were not built in a day. I built it from the ground up with blood, sweat and tears. If you want to learn about the successful lives of others do not just focus on the finished product, rather look at the road he/she took. Look at the obstacles and challenges that person had to endure to become successful.

That is an important quality of becoming a successful entrepreneur — never giving up. In my life, I have encountered my fair share of difficulties, and then some. But I never run away from challenges no matter how difficult. Giving up is simply not in my DNA. All my life, I felt I was programmed to be excited rather than to be scared of taking risks. When I took the first step towards building my business with an initial capital of P10,000 in 1975, there was no guarantee of success. In fact, looking back you would probably say it was a crazy decision to give up working in the private sector and take the plunge into uncertainty.

But that is what entrepreneurs do — they take risks. Most of the time entrepreneurs do something that has not been done before. Jobs, Bezos, Gates, Turner, Musk, and others changed the world with their innovations. And what about the less famous and anonymous entrepreneurs who left their high paying jobs in order to be their own bosses? If you are the kind of person who understands that risk is a part of your path to success, if you get an adrenaline  rush instead of panic when faced with challenges, then becoming an entrepreneur is the right choice for you.

Entrepreneurs have a “never say die” attitude. They just won’t quit even after experiencing setbacks after setbacks. But why? Why are entrepreneurs so persistent? Do they have a death wish? Are they sadist who enjoy pain?

I think the “never say die” attitude that successful entrepreneurs possess is rooted in their confidence. Entrepreneurs have this supreme confidence that even when faced with a problem, they know they can come up with a solution. They know that if something is not working out, they will find a way — a better way — to make things right. It is a confidence that borders on arrogance and it is something that some people might see as “yabang” or egoism.

And it is something that is absolutely required if you want to become successful. But confidence can be exhibited in two ways — some have the in-your-face bravado while others exude a kind of quiet confidence. For the former think of a Mark Cuban or even a Steve Jobs; for the latter, think of Warren Buffet who is considered an introvert known for his composure and quiet fortitude.

But it is this confidence that allows successful entrepreneurs to survive crises and defeat obstacles that come in their way. No entrepreneur can claim that they have not committed any mistakes or experienced failure. In fact, entrepreneurs will talk endlessly about how they came back from a mistake they committed or how they turned failure into success.

Entrepreneurs never walk back from a challenge. They would sometime take a step back from the situation, but they never run away from difficulties. The decision to become an entrepreneur is terrifying because of the uncertainties. Employees know they will most likely have that paycheck at the end of the month, but entrepreneurs have no way of knowing if they will recover the money they spent as capital. But they do it anyway because it’s in their DNA.

 
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