Recently, I read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Ignoring the expletives, this book contains some worthwhile messages for business and life.
The book isn’t about not caring. It’s about identifying what you do care about and focusing on that. It brings a caveat that ‘happiness is not a solvable equation”. I can vouch for this, as on several occasions I had business goals that I worked hard and consistently to achieve. When I achieved the goal, the feeling was not what I thought it would be. Instead of overarching joy, I felt flat, and I realised that I enjoyed the process of achieving more than the achievement itself. As a mountain climber once told me, it is the climb that is important, not the summit.
Happiness, according to Mark Manson, is a form of action. That’s why when we are overwhelmed with problems, instead of trying to think through them, it’s often better to act through them – in other words, to do something.
The importance of struggle and failure
Anything that’s achieved easily is lost easily. We only need look at the people who win large sums of money or achieve sudden success to understand this. So often, the money disappears or the success is not repeated. It is another part of the short game and the long game.
Many people who start a business with the dream of being an “entrepreneur” are so focused on what they believe the lifestyle of an entrepreneur is like, they fail to commit to the hard work that goes into long-term, sustainable success. Business founders need to commit to the hard work, the tough decisions and the experience of failures to get the results they want. Just as someone who has never played golf before cannot purchase a set of golf clubs and win the US Masters the next day, new businesses need to put in the work and learn from their struggles.
They also need to be clear on the fact that the goal is not the goal. It is simply a stepping stone to another goal or objective. When you get to the top of the mountain, what is left? I agree with Manson that the freedom business or financial success brings is nothing if we do not know what our purpose is next. Establishing values that you walk and not just talk is at the core of this idea.
When founding or growing a business, ask yourself these honest questions:
- Other than material things, what do I really want?
- Am I prepared to put the work in, accept failure and persevere with the struggle?
- What would the people nearest to me say my values are?
- What am I prepared to forgo to achieve what I want?
Run your answers by someone who is competent and experienced enough to challenge you so you can get what you want and know the price before you expend your precious time.
If you would like to discuss your business goals with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.