Why Patience is a Startups Superpower
But you must have the power of conviction to act when the opportunity finally emerges.
The key to winning in startups is patience.
Followed by relentless action when the opportunity emerges. Knowing when to act and when to wait is the difference between success and failure, and is a skill that can’t be taught.
Some people trumpet luck, but if you wait long enough something will come along. You need to be willing to wait and have the ability to curate opportunity. You must possess the skills to reject the things that come before the right thing. The problem is there is no indication of what is the right thing aside from your own gut.
The most important thing then is conviction. Do you have the ability to make that one huge bet and risk it all? That is entrepreneurship. Having the conviction to put your neck on the line and win is the bravest thing anyone can do. For the most part life is easier now than it ever has been. Most people have access to decent paying jobs. Most people stay in a suitable home. It takes a special type of person to risk security in the pursuit of speculation.
And there’s no such thing as luck. You either have the strength to bet big when that one thing comes along or you don’t. You either have the ability to project the future and imagine a different world or you don’t.
Opportunity never falls into the lap of the person not looking for it.
Persistence in patience is essential. How many doors are you willing to open before you find what you are looking for. Entrepreneurship and startups promise nothing. You might find an idea to pursue after the first door or you might still be looking after a thousand.
Perseverance is humanities most underrated asset. Can you march on in the face of overwhelming adversity. Can you greet doubt like a friend and mock is as it looms over you? Perseverance is the difference between almost and knowing you’ll get there eventually. It’s never giving up and refusing to stop when you must change course.
Perseverance is your fight or flight mechanism, its life and death.
I would argue no characteristic is more critical in the success of your startup. Perseverance trumps intelligence and talent every single time. I’d back a hard worker over a natural talent every single time. I can trust the hard worker to work it out along the way while for the most part the natural talent will have experienced none of the tribulations and failures that will be critical in overcoming the obstacles erected in front of any idea.
Hard work takes nothing for granted, natural talent hasn’t been fire-hardened by adversity.
The best startups come from personal experience. It was something you or someone you know needed. Occasionally i’ll ask a company, ‘Why do you think this is a good idea’ and they’ll say, ‘oh, I read an article on TechCrunch.’ You have to understand it at a deep level. It can’t just be something you read. — Paul Bucheit in Lessons learned from investing in 200+ Startups
What is your why?
If you have a why you can overcome almost any how.
Your startup must be your why and it is what you must have the patience to find. Too many startups are idea’s that have been settled on. People don’t love what they are doing and don’t our their soul into it. They are square pegs in round holes because they founders don’t have any passion for the idea.
I’m not suggesting that starting a business for money isn’t a good idea, quite the opposite, it is often a critical motivational factor. What I am saying is that it shouldn’t be the only reason.
You must have a connection to the problem you are trying to overcome. What unique insight or perspective do you have on the issue? What skills are going to be critical to overcoming the inevitable problems? Those are the most important element in taking the first step.
Patience is understanding that overnight success takes ten years to occur.
Do you have the willingness and propensity to work harder than you ever have, toward and undefined end point without the promise of success?
To win the lottery you have to buy a ticket.
To create an incredible company you have to keep picking the balls until you find the right combination of numbers.
Patience is what allows you to find that winning combination.