Mathieu Ricard’s notes on perseverance at meditation encouraged me to write about the examples of people around me transforming enthusiasm into perseverance.
At work, I have a colleague who’s now completed more than 2 decades as a founder, CEO of the same company. I had the good fortune of spending an entire day watching him work. His pitch about his company may have changed over all these years, but when the occasion calls for it – he puts in a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm behind that pitch. I’ll bet that intensity of energy has only grown over the years. I once asked him how he manages to continue to stay interested in what he does? “There’s always something new to pursue” he answered.
At home, my better half balances responsibilities at our home and a full-time job. She’s now completed 8 years as a professional and she has a sense pride in how everything comes together. Cheekily I’m always looking for opportunities to remind her how awesome our home looks now that we’ve finally been able to finish it and about so many other things that would not have been possible without her. Nevertheless, there are times when the balance goes out of whack and it becomes imperative to put out the flames of discouragement.
There are many such examples of perseverance in the people around me that I can uncover. I welcome the enthusiasm that I’ll experience in the night before I’ll go running the next day. Or the energy I’ll feel when someone new joins the team at work.
I eagerly work towards moments when users spontaneously respond to an application that I’ve been working on. Rare and special, these discoveries send a eureka-like electricity through the mind. From the users perspective, this is appropriately labelled the A-ha moment. It’s a well-designed application that’ll deliver this milestone consistently. If a user’s hit that milestone, they’re more likely to come back to use the application, refer it to others and to use the application towards their next moment. So now you know why in consumer software you’re a user!
It’s difficult to see how perseverance pays off in the near term but it’s important and I think just like the A-ha moment it’s also the secret behind every big story. Like financial interest, it does compound and the right efforts do pay off in bigger ways the longer you’ll stay at it. It’s evidence of such experiences that impel me to keep going and to work through the sticky stuff that the longer journeys tend to throw at you. At the end of the day if you can spend a few moments to call up some subtle enthusiasm for the challenges of the next- I believe that’ll hold you in good stead.
Resilience and perseverance are qualities that are founded on our ability to keep producing. You will find both in abundance in entrepreneurs who’ve seen themselves through the ups and downs that come with the journey.
By constantly and unconditionally nurturing this spirit, by motivating yourself to get up and do anything that is possible, only then is it possible to continue even in confusion, or when you catch yourself thinking that you let yourself and others down, that you failed to keep to your promises or vision, or that you could have done so much better.
“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.
~ Paul Graham, How to do what you love.
Always produce will also ensure that Serendipity works with you.
Always produce will give you the freedom necessary to scale up, or scale down no matter what stage you are at.
The way out could be sensible, or even as inane as writing out a journal entry, or reaching out to a confidante and verbalizing all thoughts. Stay focused on your target and make your move.
The way out is to always produce. No matter what the outcome. We’re geared to intuitively grasp the invisible impact, or meaning of what we do and push forward. Lose yourself in the act of production to create that magical fuel that will keep you engaged in the game.
Secret Traits of Every Successful Entrepreneur.
How to Make Failure Impossible.
Train and when you cannot, Endure – the story of Duk-koo Kim, NY Times.
How to do what you love – Paul Graham.
Go your own Way – Pinterest Founder, Ben Silbermann’s Lesson for Startups.
This post has been the most unusual one to write. It has been an effort of well over a year now to gather what I have learned and put it into proper words. Some introspection, a series of conversations with family, other entrepreneurs, friends and mentors helped me find them, and yet it must remain unfinished.
In April this year, I took up a full-time with ShopSocially and have been working there ever since. Before that people, including some who I did not even know – used several words to describe where I was at, including ‘struggling’, ‘stuck’ and so on. It was never a secret that times were difficult. Speaking carefully, I only recently discovered that my work on my venture was missing heart.
The problem did not lie in what I was building, or any of the million other things that I might have felt. It had simply become of paramount importance for me to succeed, and by staring so hard at only this one thing – the emotional content necessary to make things work vanished. With no freedom from failure, every thought became rigid, the negative amplified, and small details sadly missed.
It has been a hard-earned lesson, but a valuable one.
Fortunately, life decided to take me over and cut off my past. My time with those around me at work and home has given me an opportunity to train in their inherent cycle and recover original perspective to build on. Yes, I am not in a venture where I am in a position of risk, and I get that we all want to be that proverbial Tiger hunting it’s prey. I also think I understand now that in order for the Tiger to be a Tiger, he must put in the same amount of intensity in hunting a mouse as he must when hunting another animal that is much bigger or faster than itself.
If you read up stories of founders who made it (or did not), that will tell you that they did not know before hand all that they were building – but with uncommon sincerity did they mix their lives, work and ambitions to lay down layer upon layer. Take this blog site for example, I have to work on not only it’s contents, but how it looks and feels as well to make it agreeable to you. In order to discover that I must first write and so on further in. Same principle.
So what lies ahead? Truth is, all I know right now is the compass-bearing and am taking on challenges one at a time. I have plenty of moves left to get me to where it is that I am going. I am also constantly tinkering with my self to improve. For those of you who believed in me, encouraged me, I might be slow to come around but I stay in your debt as I go forward.