What Living in Canada Doesn’t Teach You

Disclaimer: There are brilliant Canadian entrepreneurs out there, not to mention talent, and this is definitely not a crack at them. This is all based on my own personal experience, and perhaps more of a crack at myself.

In all honesty, we are just not built to be entrepreneurs. We are super nice, pleasant and conservative people. We say thank you and sorry when its not even our fault. We stay neutral in most arguments and play it safe in our investments and life decisions. Of course, not everyone is like this, but the majority of people are. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am extremely lucky to be born and bred in Canada, a place that is like utopia compared to other parts of the world. A place that respects women and gives everyone equality and independence. its an amazing place to live and work. We get great educations and live great lives with our free health care and clean air.

But, we are not taught to be aggressive, and this may be to our own downfall.

Having lived in both the US and India, I can vouch for this. Compared to others, I came off as mousy and hesitant, when I should have been strong and convincing. But thankfully, this overall uncertainty in myself was beaten out of me with harsh yet needed criticism and lots of good peer influence. You can read all about my experience at 500 Start-ups.

Here’s an easy example that is a loose analogy. When it rains or is raining in Delhi, its twice as hard to get an auto rickshaw during rush hour. Mostly because they know they have the upper hand and pick and choose who they want to take. Now, do you think people are courteous and see that you’re waiting so let you have first dibs? Even worse, you’d think a guy would see a girl without an umbrella and offer to get an auto for her.. HA! No way! Its every man/woman for themselves, you have to hustle and just get there first. Often times, I have to chase auto’s down before others get to them. Not being aggressive will get you nowhere, and in this case, sopping wet.

I for one, was never taught to be this aggressive. But, it translates so easily into being an entrepreneur. You think that things are going to just come to you? No way, you have to chase them down and demand it.

Have you ever wondered why there are so few companies coming out of Canada that actually hit it big worldwide? It’s not because we aren’t super intelligent and talented, its mostly because of this nonchalant, laissez-faire attitude that stops us from going further. It’s simply a lack of aggressiveness. Do we think of the biggest idea after and go after it so that it hits every corner of the world? Do we risk everything? I’m not sure we do..

The only way I see to overcome this lack of aggressiveness is to live in other parts of the world – especially in the US. You’ll see a marked difference in the way people conduct business and their general belief system. When you get out of your comfort zone and a way from people who are similar to you, you really see yourself as how you truly are. It’s a valuable experience and I wholeheartedly recommend it regardless of if you’re an entrepreneur or not.

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Random passport stamps

What do you think about this? Do you agree?

One thought on “What Living in Canada Doesn’t Teach You

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