Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Wise & Persistent (a.k.a. Agile) Entrepreneur

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
Bertrand Russell

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains the pervasive and perverse phenomenon where people with less competence rate their ability higher than do people who are relatively more competent.

The successful pursuit of any major goal in life requires many things including the much overrated Luck. In my mind, two qualities stand head and shoulders above everything else as absolutely essential to success:

  • Your ability to Learn
  • Your Persistence

I've previously discussed how to improve your ability to learn.

Today I want to share with my fellow entrepreneurs my thoughts on persistence.

I'm sure you had enough lessons of persistence knocked into your head. And it may even be getting to a point where the word starts to lose its meaning. But the thing is, persistence will lead you to success only if you have a proportional ability to learn - use it wisely & competently.

And as an entrepreneur, you can't afford to learn just from your own mistakes (akin to paying for all your lessons). You need to take advantage of the FREE lessons- i.e. learn from other people's mistakes.

I've seen dozens of entrepreneurs from start to finish, up close and personal. A few succeeded, but the vast majority didn't. Some "failed fast" within 6 months, and even more gave up after several months or a few years when their budgeted cash flow dried up. Both these categories of entrepreneurs typically paid a relative small price- in money, time, and other costs (career, family, emotional).

However, a smaller but still significant minority persisted for years, spiraling down and paying a heavy price along the way. Not to forget the ultimate cost - the death of not just their dream, but their courage to dream. They got so beat up that they got the entrepreneur knocked out of them for good.

The most valuable lessons I've learned are from these persistent entrepreneurs stuck on a path to inevitable failure, unable to learn and change course, unable and seemingly unwilling to heed any advice or take any help, relentlessly heading towards disaster (unless saved by the highly-overrated Mr. Luck).

  • - You need a second chance to apply the lessons learned from your mistakes.
  • - The persistent entrepreneur with a learning disability never gets a second chance.
  • - The "wise" entrepreneur who gives up too quickly learns nothing that helps the second time around.

The wise entrepreneur with the competence or ability to learn and correct the course in time, as well as the courage of his convictions to be persistent, will have the greatest chance of success over the long-term.

Forget the "bold entrepreneur" tautology and stop investing in random noise a.k.a. luck. Be a Wise and Persistent Entrepreneur - if you want to help yourself succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more except that luck still plays a role somehow.
    Good blog so far !


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