A few days ago I met up with a girl here in Bangkok who wanted me to teach her about online business. We’d been exchanging emails for a couple of months already, me giving her advice on what to read and try. And after meeting in person this past weekend, I’m convinced the girl is doomed to fail. 1
Three reasons, which I’ll list below. These are reasons which I believe account for the failures of many who try their hand at being their own boss, online or off. If you recognize these in yourself, you need to make some big changes or you’ll be doomed, too.
1. Holding out for a hero
If you’re waiting for some white knight to come along and save the day, you’re doomed.
Nobody will ever care as much about your success as you do. You have to be your own hero, your own savior.
This means leadership. You have to be willing to step up and take risks. Too many of us have been trained in the mindset of, “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” That’s a fantastic mindset for success as an employee, but it won’t get you very far in the world of entrepreneurship.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to and learn from others. Of course you should. But ultimately, your success is up to you. Nobody else.
2. Waiting for the perfect system
You see this all the time with people trying to get in shape. They try this diet and that diet, this exercise program and that exercise program. They believe that they just need the right system and then it will be easy.
Yeah, those people are doomed.
There is no perfect diet or exercise program, just like there is no perfect system in the business world. People want everything laid out for them so they can follow the steps to success. Well, if it was that easy, everyone would be healthy and wealthy.
Sorry, it’s not that easy. The perfect plan isn’t going to fall into your lap. Nobody’s going to hand you a map of the castle. The information you do receive will not be perfectly tailored to your specific situation.
Tough shit. Win anyway.
Use what works, ignore the rest, and fill in the blanks through trial and error. Ultimately, entrepreneurs are problem solvers, innovators, artists. Ultimately, that’s what you need to be.
3. Thinking you don’t have time
That girl in Bangkok works a busy job six days a week, twelve hours a day and gets paid just $700 a month.
It sucks, I get it. And when she complains that she has no time to improve her English and learn about online business, it’s easy to feel sorry for her.
Unfortunately, her complaining and me feeling sorry for her doesn’t change a damn thing. If she wants out, she needs to find time.
And it’s there. The time is there.
In one breath she’s complaining about lack of time and in the next she’s telling me how she was out drinking with friends the two nights previous.
That’s why she’s doomed.
As the famous quote goes, entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
If it was easy, everyone would be winning. If you didn’t have to give up nights out and your favorite TV show and sometimes even sleep, you’d already be on top.
Listen, I’m not advocating all out hardship here. Leisure time is important. Time with family and friends is important. Just know that to be your own boss, sometimes you’re going to have to choose between work and other things that are important to you. There’s nothing wrong with choosing those other things, just like there’s nothing wrong with eating a donut or sleeping in instead of getting up and going for a run. Just be aware of the opportunity cost. Choose consciously and don’t complain. You either do the work and make the sacrifices or you don’t.
In the words of Ray Dalio: “By and large, life will give you what you deserve.” 2
Nobody’s doomed indefinitely
I say that girl is doomed because she falls at all three aforementioned hurdles. She’s waiting for a savior, a system, and some kind of revelation in the space-time continuum.
But not indefinitely. Take me back ten years and I was falling at those same hurdles. Through persistence and experimentation I can now clear all three pretty consistently and have moved on to tackling bigger jumps.
It’s all practice. You keep working at it, keep trying to wrap your head around healthier mindsets, and you scrape and claw your way forward. It’s not pretty, but success is inevitable if you just keep at it.
Please, keep at it.
Of course, there are plenty more hurdles on the path to success, not just the above three. What other doom-inducers can you think of? Let me know in the comments below.
- Please don’t lose sight of my main point here. I once wrote about the struggles of another girl I met and was accused of being sexist. Gender is irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make. These struggles are universal. ↩
- Ray Dalio’s Principles is one of the best things you’ll ever read, and available for free download here. ↩