“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
– General Douglas MacArthur
The perils of war haven’t changed much. Nor, really, have the perils of getting anywhere, accomplishing anything of real significance, in business or in life – it just isn’t a straight-line-from-A-to-B thing (as Dr. Maltz pointed out).
Most of our folks have had it so easy of late I worry about them being spoiled. Every ad working first time, every mailing profitable, incomes leaping by hundreds of thousands of dollars or triple-digit percentages year to year. Most haven’t gone down a blind alley and had their nose bloodied by the brick wall at its end while being kicked in the ass repeatedly from behind. But if by some chance you have stubbed a toe lately, you ought to rejoice in it. Nobody stubs toes sitting still.
I’m all for arranging your life to avoid challenges and experimentation, if you’re already where you want to be in financial and other accomplishment terms. And I’m not a champion of doing things the hard way when easier options are available.
However, you can’t go through life mad as hell and frustrated and disappointed when things aren’t going exactly your way either.
Being an entrepreneur means solving problems. Picking your way around potholes. Dealing with morons and malcontents.
That’s one of the main reasons we get the big bucks – not due to our exceptional genius, but due to our exceptionally high tolerance for pain. Our willingness to “advance in another direction” when most other people just stop, squat and give up altogether.
Personally, most of the success and fame-of-sorts I enjoy now and have enjoyed for the last 10 years is product of my willingness to be a piñata and get bashed around and suffer and look stupid and out-work 20 people for the previous 20 years.
By the way, politically, right now Clinton looks good to many by comparison to Obama and Bush. But let’s remember, Clinton didn’t try to do anything. He let the Reagan/Bush economy run. Name one big, bold iniative of any kind he made his ship he was willing to fight for and, if necessary, go down with. You can’t.
When you try things and push new iniatives, you sometimes wind up covered in shit and looking stupid. (McDonalds: sit down table service. FedEx: ZapMail. Martha Stewart: The Apprentice.) And you ought to budget some time and money to try new, different, radical, odd ideas, even ideas you don’t believe in, on an on-going basis.
It’s called R&D. And yep, you’ll get your nose bloodied a lot. But every once in a while, you’ll have a breakthrough that could never have been found without all the ugly stumbling and bumbling.
You should NEVER be complacent and just keep raking in the money from what’s working without reinvesting some % of it into looking for something else that might work too. NEVER.