I see this a lot. “Don’t quit. You need to persevere! Only losers quit!”
It’s not bad advice. But it’s too vague to use for all situations. Let’s talk about Ed the Entrepreneur.
Ed the entrepreneur has a great idea. He’s going to build a start-up on it, save the world, and make billions in the process. All Ed needs is hard work and perseverance.
The problem is that he needs seed funding. However, there’s so much money going around the world, he’s surely able to get at least some of it to start. People half as talented as him are getting funded every day.
He goes out and starts doing pitches. Banks, venture capitalists, angel investors, whoever is willing to listen to his idea. He knows he’ll run into rejection. But he believes in his idea so much he’s willing to do whatever it takes.
Rejection after rejection happens. But every rejection means he’s closer to the final yes. He truly believes this 100% and all you need is faith. Faith, willpower, and talent.
He’s been doing this for 6 months and received about 500 rejections. He was feeling very discouraged. Some laughed at his idea outright. Some were more kind and urged him to do something else with his life. He didn’t want to give up but he was about to.
Then one day, he has a scheduled meeting with an investor. This wasn’t just any investor. This was the last one on his long list of possible prospects for his idea. The idea that would change the world, the idea that would make him billions. He decided to give it his all, to make this last presentation the best presentation of his life!
He met with the investor and…[How would YOU end the story?]
Seriously, how would you end the story? Do you feel cheated? What if I told you that the investor funded the idea? How would you feel? What “lesson” would you derive about perseverance? What if he didn’t get funded? Would you then blame certain actions Ed took? Would you start critiquing his idea, his plan, his approach?
The story is made up. And it was designed to make you feel a certain way. The story actually doesn’t matter. How YOU interact with the story matters. How YOU want the story to end tells us a lot about YOU. And what can you learn about yourself with the ending you want?
In my next e-mail, I want to talk about the interaction between delusion and perseverance.