Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Entrepreneurship Fights Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is the immense fear of being in a tightly enclosed space. It is the physical manifestation of the frightening belief that there is no escape. Often those who experience a claustrophobic response see no end to the extreme restriction and feel a very real sense of suffocation.

Living in New York City, there are plenty of opportunities to feel claustrophobic. From the crowded subway system to long elevator rides to even one's own living space, the sheer lack of personal mobility can be devastating. But it is a different type of claustrophobia that often grips those professionals fighting to survive in this city. This fear stems from a feeling of personal encapsulation. This may come from a narrow and intensive career path, or it may come from the strongly felt peer pressure to achieve - especially in the financial sense.

Many fight this fear by changing their environment - i.e. going to graduate school, leaving NYC to live somewhere else, or even looking at new romantic relationships as the light at the end of the tunnel. Some fight this fear by trudging through their reality and suffering through years of hardship in order to find a personal escape - either through financial reward or some other universal esteem.

But I've realized that many of my peers are starting to see a different way to fulfillment, a different way to break their enclosed prisons. One very powerful path comes from entrepreneurship. This self-made challenge takes many forms - from the philanthropic non-profit to the Billion-Dollar Internet idea. In each case an internal spark leads to the external manifestation of creativity. The process in itself is very often enough of a reward. In its essence, entrepreneurship gives those who feel personally claustrophobic the means to create their own personal light, an escape from the confines of the ordinary.
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