My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
People are constrained by their prisms of their realities. In other words, they are limited by who they are.
They see the world as a reflection of themselves. Thieves think everyone else is a thief and out to steal from them. Cowards think everyone else will run in the face of danger, just like they do. Fools think everyone else is a sucker.
Beware the little people — the small-minded, the petty. They rarely lift their sights above the smallness of their stations, and, by fixating on the small and petty, they will drag you down to their level. They are so fearful of losing what little they have, that they end up channeling all of their energies on fighting to protect and maintain those limitations instead of improving their lot. But, worse, they resist acceptance of their limitations and bully or berate those they perceive as less fortunate or less powerful than they in order to prove they are better than their station allows. They are the epitome of the adage “kiss up and shit down.”
It is for this reason that I urge you to take the time to find and befriend those who inspire you to be better. Look for those who train their eyes beyond the horizons, those who see possibilities instead of limitations, those who are prone to act instead of whine, those who accept ambiguity and change as natural parts of life.
These also happen to be traits of entrepreneurs, see, e.g., https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/11/05/how-do-entrepreneurs-think/#3e52f7473905; https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285625; and, https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/6-things-successful-entrepreneurs-always-believe.html.
That’s why I want you to think
1. Anything is possible.
If you believe you’ll never be capable of creating a multi-million-dollar enterprise, you’re never going to take the effort to create one. If you think your business can’t compete with the major players, you’ll lose enthusiasm and eventually fold under the pressure.
Believing that some things are flat-out impossible becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; instead, successful business owners have a mindset that anything is possible with the investment of enough knowledge, effort and determination. Having the confidence to move forward is half the battle, and as long as that action doesn’t turn into foolhardy arrogance (more on that later), it will empower you to work harder and set higher goals.
2. Hard work pays off — even if it takes years to see it.
Successful business owners also believe that, fundamentally, hard work pays off. They aren’t afraid to invest hours, weeks, months or even years of hard work into their businesses, because they have faith that the outcome will be valuable.
The key difference here with successful entrepreneurs is that they’re able to envision and embrace long-term payoffs. This ability is known as delayed gratification, which theoretical physicist Michio Kaku once referred to as the “hallmark of human intelligence.”
Related: The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself
3. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Even experts make mistakes — all the time. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll suffer in a number of different ways: You’ll set goals that are unreasonably high, you’ll feel defeated and discouraged when you don’t reach them or make mistakes and you won’t be willing to move forward despite a flaw or two.
If you wait until everything is perfect before you launch a product or move forward with a decision, you’ll never cross that threshold, which is why it’s important to start only with a minimum viable product and make gradual improvements from there. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and don’t let them stop you from taking the next step forward.
4. You can’t do everything alone.
Even if you’ve managed to build something amazing for yourself, through your efforts alone, it’s still because of the people in your life who have taught you and supported you that you got as far as you did. Even in matters like building a social following from scratch, you’re relying on outsiders to help support your own initiative, and in that respect, you’re always going to be relying on other people.
The trick is to do as much as you can by yourself, then surround yourself by the most talented, capable, respectable people you can find to help you take care of the rest.
5. Risks are necessary.
It’s true that not all risks are equal, and not all risks are worth taking, but if you separate people into risk-takers and non-risk-takers, eventually, statistically, it will be people from the risk-taking pool who end up being the furthest ahead. Successful entrepreneurs may not have a mindset that urges them to take every risk they find, but they aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, and that gives them more potential for bigger, more successful initiatives.
6. Perspective and experience matter.
Successful entrepreneurs know that they aren’t the smartest, most experienced or most rational people in the world. They recognize that other business owners have more experience, have different perspectives and may have valuable ideas or insights that they themselves haven’t considered.
Successful entrepreneurs demonstrate humility, and aren’t embarrassed to ask for help or too proud to ask for others’ opinions. They’re willing and eager to gather information from many sources before moving forward with anything.
7. There’s always more to learn.
Humility extends to this belief, as well. No matter how long you went to school, how many courses you’ve taken or how many years you’ve spent on the job, there’s always something new to learn about your industry and about the world. Maintaining the desire and initiative to pursue your own education indefinitely keeps you sharp throughout your entrepreneurial journey, and keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.
Lift your sights beyond the horizon. See yourself succeed. Ignore the cowardly warnings of the nay-sayers, the intrepid, and the small-minded. Focus on what must be done to make your visions become reality. Know that every failure brings you one step closer to success, and know that no matter what happens, you are always loved and valued.
Be you. Be the best you.
All my love, always,