The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Are You Robositter or a Free Spirit?
I recently read a children’s story about a robot baby-sitter that went something like the following. A child said every time his parents went out, they would leave him with a babysitter. The child responded to his parents with “I don’t need a babysitter. I can watch after myself.” In earlier experiences with baby-sitters, the child would disguise himself in an alien costume to scare the baby-sitter. The child despised baby-sitters and would build with blocks in front of the bathroom door when the baby-sitter went to the bathroom. One time the child put gum he had chewed in the baby-sitter’s bag, but his parents discovered the child did the deed when they smelled his breath and commented on his gum breath. The child explained he never did what the baby-sitter wanted such as go to bed at a certain time. The child said he would take two hours to brush his teeth, but when he did, he no longer had gum breath (Errico, 2011).
One day the parents came in and explained they found a new baby-sitter the child would listen to. The parents opened the door and introduced a robot baby-sitter to their child. The robot clanked just like a machine and exclaimed, “I am Robositter. I am your babysitter. If you do not listen I will use lasers.” This comment deterred the child because he feared the possibility the robot had lasers (Errico, 2011).
The child and the sitter sat down to play a board game, but Robositter would outsmart the child. It would exclaim, “You took an extra card or advanced four spaces instead of the three to which the move entitled you. Robositter sees your rolling eyes!” The child realized he could not cheat (Errico, 2011). At dinnertime, Robositter would make robot macaroni. The macaroni tasted good, but had a crunchiness to it. The child explained his mother always let him have ice cream for dessert. Robositter exclaimed, “Robositter detects a lie.” Instead Robositter gave the child a healthy piece of mechani-cake (Errico, 2011).
Robositter didn’t use the bathroom or carry a bag forcing the child to use his alien suit to get in trouble. Robositter would respond, “Robositter detects an alien trespasser and must destroy.” The child explained in the nick of time that it was just him dressed up (Errico, 2011). At bed time Robositter would read the child a story, but had a monotone voice. The child planned to stay up in his room playing games, but Robositter had other ideas exclaiming, “have a restful recharge; Robositter will monitor your sleep status remotely.” The next morning came with a well-rested young boy. Robositter reported to the child’s parents the boy showed his best behaviour. The boy exclaimed, “Maybe I can get used to robot macaroni” (Errico, 2011).
Reflecting on this story, think about the boy later growing up and deciding on an occupation. The grown version of the child believes in a structured, stable setting that suits his needs and a company takes care of him. Many people grew up with a mind-set like the one this boy had. Conversely, some kids came from a more rebellious setting like the one in which this boy started. The child with Robositter lost his creativity and developed a conservative mind-set. A child without the influence of Robositter may have preserved a more rebellious mind-set understanding the value of autonomy, flexibility, and creativity. I know I did as I ran away from home once when I became angry. I paid the price later with my parents, but I also found my way home on my own.
Starting a business is difficult with the mind-set of a child looked after by Robositter. An entrepreneur needs a more inquisitive mind-set and must display a willingness to experiment and get in trouble. A little wiggle room contributes to a person’s creativity, but constant monitoring of a person is a surefire way to inhibit it. A little wiggle room allows a person to think for himself and not worry about someone watching his every move. Ask yourself which setting you prefer. If you want to become an entrepreneur you have to have the free spirit of the rebellious child to succeed.
Errico, D. (2011, June 29). Night of the Robot Babysitter. Free Children Stories. Retrieved from http://www.freechildrenstories.com/story_details.php?st_id=209
By Dr Phil Harris