How Entrepreneurship Is Like Acting
Entrepreneurship, like theater, requires you to imagine something that doesn't exist. Hollywood star Jeffrey Wright explains how his training on the stage prepared him to found a mineral company and non-profit in Sierra Leone.
The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that if authors could infuse their stories with enough "semblance of truth," readers would suspend their disbelief of the clearly fabricated tale. Almost 200 years later, actor and entrepreneur Jeffrey Wright tells Big Think that starting a business requires a similar suspension of disbelief on the part of investors, employees, stakeholders, and even the entrepreneur himself.
The Amherst-educated actor first visited Sierra Leone in 2001 as its decade-long civil war was coming to a close. He was so inspired by the situation that he returned two years later to found a sustainable mineral exploration company Taia Lion Resources as well as a corporate social responsibility arm Taia Peace Foundation.
Sierra Leone, like much of Africa, is blessed with plentiful resources, but historically these resources have benefitted European society, not African society. Wright hopes to change that, but this required asking the Sierra Leoneans to forget the past and envision a more positive future, as he explains in the video below:
In order to inspire others and convince them to suspend their disbelief, you must celebrate, through language, the idea above yourself. Treat the idea as if it were a character you were embodying on the stage. Compelling others is "a function of your capacity to imagine and to subsume one's own ego in favor of whatever character or idea it is that you're trying to portray," says Wright. "The idea becomes larger and more powerful than you and there is then hopefully some type of levitation that happens and the story touches people."
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.
- Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
- The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
- Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
As tempting as it may be to run away from emotionally-difficult situations, it's important we confront them head-on.
- Impossible-sounding things are possible in hospitals — however, there are times when we hit dead ends. In these moments, it's important to not run away, but to confront what's happening head-on.
- For a lot of us, one of the ways to give meaning to terrible moments is to see what you can learn from them.
- Sometimes certain information can "flood" us in ways that aren't helpful, and it's important to figure out what types of data you are able to take in — process — at certain times.