During a trip to Honolulu, physicist Richard Feynman spoke with a Buddhist temple’s tour guide, who explained the Buddhist religion for tourists. On each tour, the guide left attendees with a proverb of the Buddhist religion that Feynman never forgot:
To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.
Entrepreneurs have gifts. Keys, even. The ability to see opportunities and the confidence to go for them, to have plenty of ideas, convince others of the way forward and communicate well. These keys can open doors that lead to wonderful places for all involved. They can create life-changing inventions, solve social issues at scale, and use technology to make improvements and positive change.
But these keys also open the gates of hell. Criminals see opportunities. Thieves are confident. Conmen can convince others. Crooks have ideas. The same qualities, the same talents, but used in another way.
The same key can open the gates of heaven or the gates of hell. To what do we owe the difference in use?