Irrational, You Need To Be!

Alvin Chow
Alvin Chow

This article is about entrepreneurship, not the usual investment topic.

So you can skip this article if you are not into entrepreneurship 🙂

A friend of mine quit his job a while ago and mustered his courage to pursue entrepreneurship.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make. There are a lot of sacrifices that most people are not be willing to go through. It is easier to confine yourself in the comfort of employment than to confront the uncertainties of entrepreneurship.

He is married and a child is coming. Imagine the financial stress he has to contest with before starting his business.

Time to time, he would question his choice to pursue his business. He would doubt the viability of his business. He would confide in me about his struggle.

I believe his struggle is not unique. All entrepreneurs experience these ‘down’ moments, and yours truly too. I wanted to share my thoughts so that entrepreneurs, like you, know that you are not alone.

I felt I had to straighten his thinking. Before you get the wrong perception, I am far from a successful entrepreneur. Having to walk through entrepreneurship for the past three years, negative thoughts does not serve its purpose in an already competitive environment.

An Entrepreneur Needs to Be Overconfident

BigFatPurse always cautions investors about their irrationality.

Overconfidence results in overpriced investments that proves to be costly over time.

Overconfidence is a poison to investments but a blessing to entrepreneurship.

Statistically, most businesses fail. The odds are always not in your favour.

You must be overly confident to believe you would emerge from your competitors and cement a marketplace for your service or product.


My text reply to my friend

Hence, the last thing an entrepreneur needs, is to lose his confidence.

Overconfident Is NOT About Being Unreceptive

I want to clarify that being overconfident is not about letting feedback fall on deaf ears.

As an entrepreneur, you should believe in your chances, and at the same time have the receptivity to discern and accept relevant feedback from the marketplace.

Let’s face it, there are very few visionaries who could imagine a product that consumers do not know they want. Henry Ford once said,

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

He visualised a mechanised car that no one has seen before.

A modern visionary was Steve Jobs, who could create products that were not in existence.

But for many of us, it makes more sense to listen to consumers’ responses, and adjust accordingly. We are not so smart to get everything right at first.


Entrepreneurship embodies overconfidence.

Overconfidence is irrational.

Entrepreneurs need to be irrational.

It is this irrationality that empowers you with the motivation to fight off the odds that are stacked against you.

Alvin Chow
Alvin Chow
CEO of Dr Wealth. Built a business to empower DIY investors to make better investments. A believer of the Factor-based Investing approach and runs a Multi-Factor Portfolio that taps on the Value, Size, and Profitability Factors. Conducts the flagship Intelligent Investor Immersive program under Dr Wealth. An author of Secrets of Singapore Trading Gurus and Singapore Permanent Portfolio. Featured on various media such as MoneyFM 89.3, Kiss92, Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao. Given talks at events organised by SGX, DBS, CPF and many others.
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2 thoughts on “Irrational, You Need To Be!”

  1. Great post Alvin. Speaks to me as I recently did embark on an entrepreneurial venture myself.
    I guess what successful entrepreneurs have in common is a contrarian mind-set that allows them to create opportunities and succeed where others see nothing. As such naturally we will meet many detractors. If everyone we speak to about our business idea would find it fantastic we are probably not on to something big. There probably might be a legion of competitors on the launch pad. We should stop it and do something more contrarian. haha

    I recently listened to the audio-book version of “Worthless, Impossible and Stupid” by Daniel Isenberg. Discs 1 to 7 contain lots of examples of entrepreneurs who made it. And Disc 8 is a great summary of his experiences working with dozens of startups.

    He closes the book with this: “Entrepreneurship is not about the likely or the average. It is about the possible, the extraordinary. It is about victory.”

    All the very best to you and your friend.


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