FASTer - Issue #127
Identifying & Shedding Losers 🗑️
As you embark on your exciting journey of building businesses and chasing dreams, one essential lesson is often overlooked: who you surround yourself with can significantly impact your success. Today, we're diving into the concept of "losers" in the entrepreneurial world and why it's crucial to keep them at arm's length.
In the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurial life, a "loser" isn't the stereotypical outcast, oddball, or foreigner. It's someone who, despite their potential, hinders progress and growth, both personally and professionally.
Entrepreneurial losers come in various forms, and it's vital to recognize their traits:
The Complacent Achiever: This type relies on past achievements and thinks they're entitled to future success. They may have hit a home run a decade ago but haven't evolved since. When faced with challenges, they stubbornly stick to outdated strategies, hindering innovation.
The Pessimistic Pessimist: These individuals expect failure, convinced that the world is conspiring against them. They've given up trying, and when business setbacks occur, they passively accept defeat. Their lack of resilience can drag your entrepreneurial spirit down.
The Downside of Keeping Losers Around:
Now that you can identify these loser profiles, let's explore why you should avoid having them as friends or colleagues in your entrepreneurial journey:
Energy Drain: Losers can zap your energy and enthusiasm with their negativity. Surrounding yourself with them will stifle your creativity and motivation, hindering your progress.
Innovative Handcuffs: Complacent achievers can anchor you to past successes, preventing you from embracing new strategies and adapting to change. This can be a fatal roadblock in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship.
Resilience Roadblocks: Pessimistic pessimists can erode your resilience and problem-solving skills. Instead of tackling challenges head-on, you might find yourself succumbing to defeat, just like them.
Missed Opportunities: By associating with losers, you risk missing out on potential partnerships or collaborations with individuals who can genuinely contribute to your growth and success.
Choosing Your Circle Wisely:
As young entrepreneurs, your journey will be full of ups and downs. It's crucial to surround yourself with individuals who uplift, inspire, and challenge you positively. Here's how to curate a winning circle:
Selectivity: Choose friends and colleagues who share your entrepreneurial drive and vision. Seek individuals who motivate you to strive for greatness.
Character Matters: Don't be swayed by superficial appearances or impressive resumes alone. Dig deeper into the character and values of potential team members or collaborators.
Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess your circle and be willing to cut ties when necessary. Your growth and success should always take precedence.
Stay inspired, stay focused, and surround yourself with those who believe in your vision!
Today, we're diving into A story called "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley. This is my favorite story in the wold about outcomes and how little actions can have a big impact.
In Eiseley's essay, he tells a tale of a person walking along the beach, where thousands of starfish have washed ashore. As the person walks, they notice another individual up ahead, bending down, and throwing something into the sea. Approaching, they realize that this person is picking up starfish, one by one, and tossing them back into the ocean.
Puzzled, the observer asks, "Why are you doing this? There are so many starfish here; you can't possibly save them all. What difference does it make?" The star thrower responds by picking up another starfish and tossing it gently into the waves. They say, "It made a difference to that one."
This may feel like a seemingly made up story but it's essential for us as entrepreneurs. Let me humor you…
Entrepreneurs as Star Throwers:
In our entrepreneurial pursuits, we often dream big, envisioning massive global impacts and groundbreaking innovations. However, it's easy to forget that every monumental achievement begins with small, meaningful actions. This is where "The Star Thrower" story becomes so relevant.
1. Embracing the Power of Small Acts:
As entrepreneurs, we can sometimes become overwhelmed by the enormity of our goals and the challenges we face. We might think, "What difference can my small actions make in the grand scheme of things?" It's crucial to remember that impactful change often starts with seemingly insignificant acts. Just as the star thrower made a difference, each step we take, no matter how small, contributes to the greater good.
2. Focusing on Individual Impact:
In the vast sea of opportunities and challenges, it's easy to lose sight of the individuals we can help along the way. The star thrower reminds us that we don't have to save the entire world to make a meaningful impact. By positively affecting one person's life, one customer, one employee, or one community, we're already making a difference.
3. Persistence and Dedication:
The star thrower didn't give up, even when faced with an overwhelming task. Similarly, as entrepreneurs, we encounter setbacks and obstacles. "The Star Thrower" encourages us to persist and stay dedicated to our missions, no matter how daunting they may seem.
4. Ripple Effect:
Just like the starfish tossed back into the sea, our actions can create a ripple effect. By helping one person or solving one problem, we can inspire others to do the same, creating a wave of positive change that extends far beyond our initial efforts.
By embracing the lessons from "The Star Thrower," we learn that our actions, no matter how small, have the potential to create profound impacts on individuals and communities. So, remember, when you face the vast beach of entrepreneurship, don't underestimate the significance of your small acts of kindness, innovation, and dedication.
One New Thing (That you should know)
The myth of carrots improving your eyesight and helping you see in the dark was WWII propaganda. This has been a popularly held belief and likely impacted the outcomes of so many little kids and their dinner choices. Yet we typically accept these myths on face value. Same is true in business, X wont work because Y already tried it. Here is why you must read the full account of the carrot myth so you make better choices for your outcomes.
Boring Stuff That Scales
I get a lot of questions about this section, every week. So this week, I will curate some of the best examples of people looking at identifying, existing but boring ideas, thoughts concepts or trends and adding their touch to it to create things/businesses of immense value. What I have been trying to convey is that not all of us can invent some thing new(some will), but we can perhaps take some thing old and boring and make it innovative and scale the boring by adding a new dimension to it. Dimensions are the super power to help the boring scale.
There have been entrepreneurs in the Western world who specialized in seemingly mundane or boring activities or businesses that eventually led to substantial wealth. These individuals often succeeded by identifying niche markets or optimizing existing processes. Here are a few lesser-known examples:
Joseph-Armand Bombardier - Snowmobiles: Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a Canadian inventor, started a small repair shop for vehicles in the early 20th century. He had a passion for mechanical engineering and decided to tackle the problem of winter transportation. He developed the first snowmobile, which became incredibly valuable in regions with heavy snowfall. Bombardier's invention laid the foundation for the modern snowmobile industry and his company, Bombardier Inc., eventually expanded into various transportation sectors, making him a billionaire.
Donald Fisher - Blue Jeans: In the 1960s, Donald Fisher and his wife Doris noticed a gap in the market for well-fitting jeans. They opened the first Gap store in San Francisco, specializing in selling jeans and basic clothing. While jeans might seem like a straightforward product, the Fishers' attention to quality, fit, and customer experience helped Gap become a retail giant, proving that even a seemingly mundane product can lead to riches.
William Wrigley Jr. - Chewing Gum: William Wrigley Jr. initially sold baking powder, but he decided to include a free pack of chewing gum with each can of baking powder as a promotional strategy. To his surprise, the chewing gum became more popular than the baking powder. Wrigley shifted his focus to gum production and branding. His relentless marketing efforts, including introducing Juicy Fruit and Spearmint gum, made his company, Wrigley, a dominant force in the chewing gum industry.
George Lerner - Mr. Potato Head: George Lerner, an American inventor, created the concept of a toy called "Mr. Potato Head" in the 1940s. Initially, it was just a set of face parts that kids could stick into real potatoes. Eventually, Hasbro adopted the idea and started selling plastic potato bodies with interchangeable parts. Mr. Potato Head became a beloved and iconic toy, demonstrating that even a quirky and simple concept can lead to significant success.
Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers - Personality Assessments: While not traditional entrepreneurs in the business sense, Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment. Their work, which began in the early 20th century, laid the foundation for modern personality testing and became a widely used tool in the fields of psychology, education, and business.
These examples show that success in entrepreneurship often comes from identifying unique opportunities in overlooked areas and being passionate and persistent in pursuing them. Seemingly boring or mundane activities can turn into lucrative ventures when approached with innovation, dedication, and a keen understanding of the market.
What You Should Be Reading/Watching
With Nokia’s innovations, Finland was steered out of depression and into the leadership of the cell phone world. In 2013 Nokia’s mobile phone business was sold to Microsoft; what were the decisions that led to the demise of one of the most successful technology businesses of modern times? A story told from the perspective of the inventors and engineers who worked in the mobile phone business during its heyday.
Monetize your time - at any age
These words by American writer James Baldwin have been giving me pause.
“Once people know what they know, they make the unconscious assumption that they were born knowing what they know, and forget that they had to learn everything they know.”
We continue to link or assume that with age our learning outcomes go down. Thus we imply we cant monetize our time as best as we could in our youth.
Why Learning Shouldn't Stop at Any Age:
Brain Plasticity: Contrary to the belief that our brains become less adaptable as we age, neuroscience tells us otherwise. Our brains exhibit plasticity, the ability to reorganize and form new neural connections. This means that, at any age, we can learn new skills, languages, or knowledge areas.
Experience Enhances Learning: Older individuals often bring a wealth of life experience to their learning journey. This experience can serve as a foundation for grasping new concepts or skills more effectively. You've likely encountered the phrase "wisdom comes with age" – it can be a powerful asset in learning.
Motivation and Passion: As we grow older, we often have a clearer sense of what interests us and what we're passionate about. This motivation can be a driving force for learning. When you're genuinely enthusiastic about something, the age-related barriers tend to fade away.
With challenging economic times, if we let age, higher or lower, guide our decisions we will suffer. We have to be smart to collaborate to use age as a scaling vector. To those who are young and starting off, find a mentor, a guide, a person of experience or domain expertise. For those who are older and looking to pivot, use your experience but partner with some one willing to take more risks, faster and who has the agility and enthusiasm to match your skill.
We can learn at any age, we have the ability to learn and improvise, so long as we believe we can. In the grand scheme of things, learning at any age is not only possible but highly beneficial. James Baldwin's wise words remind us that the knowledge we possess today is the result of continuous learning throughout our lives. So, let's break free from the misconception that age limits our ability to learn.
One Last Thing-on how to make MONEY
For every one asking how to get started to bootstrapping, this is must watch. 1 hour of common sense…
Bonus! Thought(s) of the week
In our fast-paced business world, there's a powerful concept we can all tap into: the "Beginner's Mind," known as "Shoshin" in Japanese. 🚀
Imagine approaching your entrepreneurial ventures with the same enthusiasm, curiosity, and openness as a beginner diving into a new adventure. It's about shedding assumptions, biases, and preconceived notions, even in your own field of expertise.
Picture this: Instead of relying solely on what you already know, you eagerly explore new ideas, innovative strategies, and uncharted territories. 🌟
This mindset, popularized by Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, can turbocharge your creativity, problem-solving abilities, and personal growth. It's a game-changer for entrepreneurs seeking fresh perspectives and breakthroughs.
The "curse of knowledge" is a cognitive bias that occurs when individuals who are knowledgeable about a particular topic or skill find it challenging to understand or communicate with others who have less expertise in that area. It can limit the application of the Beginner's Mind in the following ways:
Difficulty in Explaining Concepts: When someone is well-versed in a subject, they may struggle to explain it to beginners because they assume that others share their level of understanding. They may use jargon or complex language, making it difficult for newcomers to grasp the concepts.
Lack of Empathy: Experts may inadvertently overlook the challenges and questions that beginners face because they've long since moved past those initial stages. This lack of empathy can hinder effective teaching, mentoring, or collaboration.
Resistance to New Ideas: Those with deep knowledge in a field might be resistant to new or unconventional ideas, as they may perceive them as contrary to established knowledge. This resistance can stifle innovation and prevent the exploration of alternative approaches.
Overlooking Simple Solutions: Experts may overlook simple and innovative solutions to problems because they're conditioned to think in a more complex or specialized manner. This can limit their ability to approach challenges with fresh eyes.
“If your mind is empty…it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
~ Shunryu Suzuki