It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but we care more about their opinion than our own.
I think the single hardest thing to do as an entrepreneur starting out is to maintain the tension between getting things done as quickly and efficiently as you can and maintaining a sense of perspective of how long things take to build. I am now 39 and when I talk to 22-year-olds the single biggest advantage I have over them is that I can think in five-year increments. If you can pull that trick, it gives you a huge edge.
It is either easy or impossible.
It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.
Consider a movie: it consists of thousands upon thousands of individual pictures, and each of them makes sense and carries a meaning, yet the meaning of the whole film cannot be seen before its last sequence is shown. However, we cannot understand the whole film without having first understood each of its components, each of the individual pictures. Isn’t it the same with life? Doesn’t the final meaning of life, too, reveal itself, it at all, only at its end, on the verge of death?
We believe most of what we believe about the world because others have told us to. Reliance upon the authority of experts, and upon the testimony of ordinary people, is the stuff of which worldviews are made. In fact, the more educated we become, the more our beliefs come to us at second hand. This does not suggest, however, that all forms of authority are valid; nor does it suggest that even the best authorities will always prove reliable.
If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.
For a start, the salary begins to have an attraction and addictiveness all of its own. A regular paycheck and crack cocaine have that in common. In addition, and more to the point, working too long for other people can blunt your desire to take risks. This last factor is crucial, because the ability to live with and embrace risk is what sets apart the financial winners and losers in the world.
The only real difference between adults and high school kids is that adults realize they need to get things done, and high school kids don’t. That realization hits most people around 23. But I’m letting you in on the secret early. So get to work. Maybe you can be the first generation whose greatest regret from high school isn’t how much time you wasted.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Take as much risk as you can as early in life as you can. My choice at the time was to either be an investment banker or start a company with some friends. Starting a company sounded way riskier. Which is the main reason why I think I took it. Yogi Berra may have said when you come to a fork in the road take it but I’d merely add when you come to a fork in the road take the riskier path.
Fear of disapproval is the major force that keeps a society intact: fear of God, fear of the police, and fear of the judgment of neighbors. Religious authorities want the fear of God to be the predominant controller. Civil authorities want fear of police and court to dominate. But the opinion of one’s neighbors trumps all others.
Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.
Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are.
But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
-Stephen R. Covey