Nobody Can Predict Your Success
Regret at not trying is worse than trying and failing
As children, some of us have taken an aptitude test. It is a fairly simple test administered at an age when the mindset is less rigid and more questioning and curious. The aptitude test asks fairly simple questions e.g. it is raining outside , what would you be rather doing? Playing out, painting, writing poetry etc. It is surprising how insightful answers to such questions can be in revealing our deepest passions. Unfortunately, millions of dollars can be spent on sophisticated research which might end up coming to the same conclusions about our interests. Maybe, we only value things that come at a price when the most profound answers can be sought with an observant, open mind and common sense. Of course, there is tremendous value in finding the right teacher to focus the mind. In Hindu mythology, the Guru is given equal or more respect than god because without a Guru, it is hard to search for answers and seek out the truth. Very frequently, economics does not favor teachers with some teachers not paid enough for a subsistence. Regardless of market dynamics, which rule value and asset prices, it is our responsibility to respect teachers and regard them with the highest esteem.
While entrepreneurship is touted as a panacea for economic de-growth, without enablers, entrepreneurship is a pipe dream. There are a lot more failures than the glamour evident on stories such as 30 millionaires under 30 and the unicorns of silicon valley. Certain observations of successful entrepreneurs has provided the following insights:
1. Start young, if you can: A lot of entrepreneurs cannot start early if they are the only bread winners. Age, however, is a number. Granted things become harder as you age, but the biggest resource you need is your willpower. For some , life does start at 40.
2. Always have a backup plan: Many entrepreneurs have a backup plan I.e. an earning spouse, a supportive family, access to the right resources. In other words , a lot of stars have to align to give their blesssings to a new startup.
3. Don’t sacrifice your health to follow a mirage: Without good health, there is no success. When it comes to well-being, hold off on your dreams until you are able to enjoy the fruits of their fulfilment.
Also, ask yourself this- can you explain the value of your startup in simple English. Every pitch book can be very simply broken down into answers to simple questions :
A) how does my startup add value to society ? It could be incremental or disruptive but how does it improve peoples lives,
B) what is the value/price somebody would be willing to pay for my product or service I.e. can my offering be monetised ?
C) is my startup scaleable or a one hit wonder? Without future scalability, it’s hard to sustain a business. In other words, innovation is a journey not a destination.
If you cannot answer these questions in simple eighth grade English, re-evaluate your decision.
There have been countless stories of life coming full circle. People have worked traditional day jobs as engineers , accumulated wealth and then followed their artistic passions to be a movie maker or writer. There is nothing more fulfilling than following your inner passions. Ask yourself this- what would you rather be doing on a beautiful, sunny day. Surprisingly, you don’t need sophisticated research to discover your inner passions. Sometimes , the simplest questions are the most profound.
Too many case studies, articles and research is devoted to explaining success after the fact. That does not take away from their utility. However, every scientist, entrepreneur, writer and successful businessman can testify to a group of naysayers or in some cases, everyone , including experts prediciting their failure when they were starting off.
The truth is, NOBODY can predict your success or failure. Keep that in mind and don’t shy away from breaking the norms and starting a new venture. There is no one more powerful than a day dreaming risk taker with a sound backup plan. Lately, I have followed the entrepreneur ial success story of a UK based brand ‘Superdry’ . Founded in Cheltenham by Julian Dunkerton in partnership with James Holder, Superdry rose from humble beginnings to an iconic brand.
Everything outlined above seems rational, however execution is truly a matter of your gut and your heart. Let your heart guide you as far as timing of execution is concerned.
Granted, success stories are one in a million, but without trying, it’s a cinch there would be no beginning to a future success story. So go ahead – TRY. Picture this, you are 55 and not the man/woman you used to be. What would you want- memories of: bold adventures or the regret of being a coward?