Entrepreneurs (and highly motivated Employees) are like farmers. We need to work very very hard by planting a lot of seeds to get a chance to succeed. But we also need to work intelligently. We need to ensure the seeds are actually of the right kind and of high quality. Then we need to water it day in and day out for the right duration of time. It can neither be too much nor too little! We need to use the right fertilizers. We need to plan meticulously to do whatever it takes to ensure we have the highest chance of success. We work super hard and super smart to maximize our chances of success. But, is that really enough?
In the end whether we get the fruits of our labor depends on a few things beyond our control. We have to pray that there is neither excessive rain nor a drought, because if that happens then all our hard work goes to waste. That’s the element of luck in business and career. One can do everything right and still go wrong because of macro-economic and other causes.
Recently, the Chief Justice of USA, John Roberts delivered a commencement address to his son’s graduating class. The speech was very powerful because he actually wished bad luck to students. It was not because he hated them but because he wanted them to understand some very powerful things in life.
Here are some of the things he said.
- He wished all of us will be treated unfairly sometimes so that we appreciate the value of justice.
- He wished that we suffer betrayal to value loyalty.
- He wished we be lonely sometimes so that we don’t take our friends and family for granted.
- He wished that we experience big failure in our career at least once so that we appreciate the role of chance in life and understand that one cannot be given 100 percent credit for their success nor can they be blamed 100 percent for their failure.
- He wished we experience pain so that we understand the value of compassion
- Finally he said these things would happen whether he wished them or not. But whether we benefit from it or not is completely dependent on whether we can see the good in our misfortunes.
So, when things are going great, just keep in mind, you are not really as good as you think you are. When things are terrible, remember, you are not as terrible as you think you are either. When you are given respect, it’s really your time and situation that is being given respect, not you. When you are treated badly, it’s your time and situation that is being treated with contempt, not you.
Great Success and Great Failure are both Terrible liars.