The Disconnect

Jackie Summers argues that when you’re a CEO, reality is never what other people believe it is.

Being a successful entrepreneur requires a particular kind of disconnect from reality.

It all starts with your idea for a product or service that no one has done before, or at least, your sincere belief that you can do it better. You become convinced that–for whatever reason–you see an opportunity that no one else does. You have the chance to create something that only exists in your mind, or recreate something that exists, but more efficiently, more profitably.

And so you ask yourself: is my idea truly original, and if so, why hasn’t anyone done this yet?

We have a joke we tell around HQ: if you believe your vision is so unique that no one has considered it yet, it’s either

  1. A terrible idea
  2. A brilliant idea, and you’re actually a freaking genius, or
  3. You’re crazy.

If the answer isn’t 1, the truth is probably a combination of 2 and 3. Everything was at some point, someone’s big idea. There may, however, be valid reasons why no one has successfully executed your concept yet. There may be technological issues, moral issues, financial issues, that stand as barriers to actualization.

This is where the disconnect comes in.

The best definition of entrepreneurship I’ve ever heard, is this:

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” – HBS professor Howard Stevenson

In other words, an entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t acknowledge the constraints of current reality, or more accurately, acknowledges them and proceeds anyway. You figure out how to circumvent reality, to recreate it to suit your needs.

The process might not exist–you create it. You don’t have the time–you find it. Your experience in your chosen endeavor is lacking–you surround yourself with people who compensate for your deficiencies. You’re without financial resources–you manifest them. You become Hannibal crossing the Alps, and you adopt the motto “Aut inveniam viam aut faciam“: find a way, or make one.

The process of overcoming the infinite obstacles between you and the actualization of your dream is preparation for success. You come to understand that reality is malleable, to those with the tenacity to impose their will over it.

Just be sure you are passionate about whatever your chosen endeavor is.

© JFB 2012

photo: fotois / flickr

About Jackie Summers

Jackie Summers is an author and entrepreneur. His blog F*cking in Brooklyn chronicles his quest to become a person worthy of love. His company, Jack From Brooklyn, Inc. houses his creative and entrepreneurial enterprises. Follow him on Twitter @jackfrombkln and friend him on Facebook


  1. When you teach women to view themselves primarily in terms of being a victim you disenfranchise* them from ever being able to adopt this kind of mindset:

    “In other words, an entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t acknowledge the constraints of current reality, or more accurately, acknowledges them and proceeds anyway”

    Every single ‘but women are hurt more…’ promotes the functional disenfranchisement** of women in our society.

    * Ultimately no one can really remove someone else’s agency, they can only make it incredibly difficult to recognize it.
    ** Yep. I recognize the irony of saying ‘but women are hurt more…’ hurting women more.

  2. Unfortunately, the only way to find out if it’s #1 is to go forward on the assumption that it’s #2 or #3.

  3. This is good, I am looking forward to learning more- I’ve been working on a couple of opportunities, and can definitley use the insight. Any books/ other resources you can recommend?

  4. Anthony Zarat says:

    “A brilliant idea, and you’re actually a freaking genius”

    Or lucky.

  5. Peter Houlihan says:

    Well said 🙂 Its nice to see someone showing business people some love.

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