What is the right mindset for success and failure in starting up a company?
First off success is relative for each individual. Success could be happiness for one person. Success could be financial wealth for some people. Success could be financial security for some. As long as you’re assured that your parents will never be hungry someday when they’re old and gray and you are able to provide good education for your kids, for a lot of people that is already considered a success.
For some people, they want to be millionaires, billionaires, there’s different kinds of people who have different definitions for success. Now, if you say what’s the right mindset for success, it’s having that focus to go after whatever success means for you. The biggest thing nowadays that hinders us from success in my opinion, are distractions. And that’s because we live in a world full of distractions.
When you create, you need focus. You can’t be distracted. Your phone can not be ringing and you are answering the phone all the time. Creation requires deep work and deep work happens within the first hour of focus. You have to be focused for one hour before you actually create something deeply. That’s from the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. I do recommend that book. If you want to read it, get it. I read the real book, I was fortunate enough to buy it pre-pandemic and finished the entire thing. Brilliant guy, brilliant book. I do recommend that book for you.
So for me, success is having focus. Really taking off everything that’s distracting you, that’s hindering you. That is something that I think you should have as a mindset. Just being relentless, being determined. Just eliminating all the distractions in your life.
The right mindset for failure, that is very, very important because a lot of people are failure averse. We are not trained to fail in school. None. No professor, no teacher will tell you, “it’s okay to fail”.
So people are failure averse. We grew up that way. We were trained that way. We were hardwired that way. Well guess what? Life involves failure. If you want to succeed, and I tell you, a lot of failure goes into success. Do you still want to go that route? Do you still want to chase success if I tell you that a lot of failure goes into success? You will fail a lot of times. You know a lot of people will say, “No. I would rather live a life where I can get by, than live a life of success and that’s because I don’t want to fail”. No one wants to fail. We were never trained to fail. But guess what? Failure is necessary. In fact, it is a part of success.
There goes a saying that, “don’t ask how a sausage is made if you’re eating one”. So don’t ask me how to get to that success. Whatever success means for you in your head, don’t ask me how to get to it because the answer is a lot of failure goes into success and that’s the truth.
You have to learn to fail and fail forward. You see people who are successful, they’re on top of a mountain. Maybe you see them as an overnight sensation, but guess what? That mountain full of dead bodies and those dead bodies are the dead bodies of the person standing on top. They failed a lot of times. They died a lot of times and they were resilient enough to just get back up and climb again. Climb on top of their dead body.
As cliche or morbid as it sounds, but really that’s kind of what it feels like. That’s kind of what it feels like when you’re trying to get to success because you have to fail a lot of times. A person standing on top of a mountain has climbed a mountain of his or her own failures. That is the truth. And if you want to be a successful entrepreneur or a businessman someday, that is pretty much the road you’re going to have to travel. There is no shortcut unless you’re going to do it in a dishonorable fashion or an underhanded fashion, then we could probably do it in a much shorter time span.