5 Hard Truths From Real Life Success Stories
1. Most People Will Only Dream About Starting Their Own Business and Never Even Get Started.
“Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.” -Andy Andrews
Dreaming is an important first step to changing the world, but as long as you are dreaming, you are still asleep. Eventually every dreamer has to wake up, wipe the sleep from their eyes, stop dreaming, and start doing in order for their dream to become a reality, in order to actually remake the world in the image of their dreams. The truth is every single person you meet every day probably has two or three ideas that if they put the rubber to the road and started taking daily action to implement that idea, it would make them a millionaire. But the tricky thing about dreaming is that it’s so powerful, most people feel like they are getting almost as much satisfaction from dreaming as they would get from making the effort to really live. It feels good to dream about your successful life and it costs you nothing except for your time. And daydreaming does take a lot of time. That time adds up ever so slowly and it seems you could get started any moment. Tomorrow. Next week. Next month. When my finances are a little better. When my health is a little better. When I’m not so busy. When… When… When… until they wake up one day and find they have dreamed their entire life away and never woke up.
2. Most of Those Who Do Get Started Will Flail Around Uselessly, Refining and Perfecting, and Never Shipping Until They Finally Give Up
“Don’t wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves. This is precisely why you’re stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way. The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now. Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can’t help but improve, can’t help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star. You might not end up with perfect, but it’s significantly more valuable than being stuck. Don’t just start. Continue. Ship. Repeat.” -Seth Godin
Perfection is the enemy of production. It’s an excuse to stay in your dreams where everything is perfect, with no effort, no sweat, no pain, no frustration, no setbacks, no stress, no disappointments, no risk, no possibility of failure. That’s a cozy place to be, but it’s not real, and it doesn’t feed your soul. Perfect is the most ingenious defense mechanism of a human mind afraid to get out there and make mistakes, bump up against the real world, push against resistance, get cut, get scraped, get hot, get sweaty, get tired, maybe get embarrassed. You have to fail your way to success. It’s the only way. Nothing truly great is achieved without trying things you are not good at yet, much less perfect. Perfect lets you stall and keeps you from ever doing anything important. The world doesn’t want perfect from you. The world needs you to do something important.
3. Most Entrepreneurs Will Fail Because They Overvalue The Importance of Their Idea and Undervalue The Importance of Selling, and Are Afraid to Do It.
“Learn how to sell your product and your service. The Ph.D. everyone needs right now is how to sell their product. It’s what business owners don’t want to do. I own three businesses. When I start a business, I don’t go out and get printers and telephones and furniture. I go get sales. The guy who opens a restaurant, the first thing he does is go get business cards. But you don’t need business cards, you need people in your restaurant. So that would be my first recommendation – get a Ph.D. in selling and get used to liking it. Be proud to sell your product. Don’t call yourself something other than a salesperson. Don’t do it. Because even a doctor needs to sell.” -Grant Cardone
Everyone has a million dollar idea. There is no shortage of good ideas. There are probably an infinite number of good ideas actually. Some entrepreneurs are scared that someone’s going to steal their idea. Some are so scared they won’t ever even try their idea themselves because as soon as they bring it to market, someone might steal it! But no one is going to steal your idea. Most people don’t have the energy, fearlessness, and wherewithal for their own idea, much less to steal yours. What there’s a real shortage of in this world is leadership, sweat, and blood. Who cares about your stupid idea. Everyone’s got a bright idea. But only a very few have the faith in themselves and their idea to evangelize the world, to convince people to see things their way, to try something different, to change for the better.
4. The Entrepreneurs Who Have The Very Best, Most Disruptive, Most Valuable Ideas Will Face The Most Resistance From The Status Quo
“The idea of gas engines was by no means new, but this was the first time that a really serious effort had been made to put them on the market. They were received with interest rather than enthusiasm and I do not recall any one who thought that the internal combustion engine could ever have more than a limited use. All the wise people demonstrated conclusively that the engine could not compete with steam. They never thought that it might carve out a career for itself. That is the way with wise people–they are so wise and practical that they always know to a dot just why something cannot be done; they always know the limitations. That is why I never employ an expert in full bloom. If ever I wanted to kill opposition by unfair means I would endow the opposition with experts. They would have so much good advice that I could be sure they would do little work.” -Henry Ford
Those very few bright souls with a one in a million, world-changing idea who have the moxy to tell the world to follow them, who take meaningful, important steps to acquire customers and ship their service or product, will face the very most resistance from a world that doesn’t want to change. People resist their own good ideas, and they will resist yours too. We live in the safest world that any members of our species have ever had the privilege of enjoying. You have more power and access to more powerful resources than the last King of France had just a few generations ago. Yet most people are still resistant to manifesting the better parts of our more angelic natures. And the real kicker is not only will you face resistance from people ducking their heads in the sand as you try to change the world, but you will face resistance from the already successful “experts” out there who think they’ve got the world figured out already and don’t need your change to come along and mess it all up for them.
5. Those Few Who Get Started, Who Move Forward Relentlessly, Who Acquire Customers Aggressively, Who Have a Vision That Can Really Create a Lot of Value and Change The World, Will Have to Sacrifice Themselves If They Want to Succeed
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. Its really tough and it consumes your life. If you’ve got a family and you’re in the early days of a company, I can’t imagine how one could do it. I’m sure its been done but its rough. Its pretty much an eighteen hour day job, seven days a week for awhile. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.” -Steve Jobs
The even fewer men and women of mind and ability, of burning desire and unshakeable conviction, of fearlessness and persistence, those few like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs who make it through the nearly impossible gauntlet of obstacles and change the world forever, must sacrifice everything to do so. If you are starting from nothing and pursuing a self made fortune, you will have to give even greater value to the world than the fortune the world will give back to you in payment for it. You will have to burn yourself up to make your dreams a reality. You will have to allow what you care about most to consume you. It is a high price.