â€œYou must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end â€“ which you can never afford to lose â€“ with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.â€? Jim Stockdale
While browsing around Joe Kraus blog after my last story about Great times for Entrepreneurs I stumbled upon this story about Startups and the Stockdale Paradox . It’s a story about optimism and realism, the story of Jim Stockdale who spent 8 years as prisoner in a Vietnam jail and was tortured regularly. He says the only reason he survived was that he was confident that he would survive, but realistic that it would take forever. He says the people who died first where the optimists.
As I read this it hit me that this is probably one of our greatest errors as entrepreneurs. I know that my greatest fault in some of my prior ventures has been not changing strategy when I should have done so.
For example things mostly take time. Most of my articles here in this blog reflect this. You could save up $20,000, quit your job and start full time on your business. However I have learnt the hard way that if you do this, you have to be ready to support your business even if things don’t move quite as fast as you want. Maybe your business is fine, just growing slowly. Is it really a good idea to quit your dream just because there is no money for rent or food? Maybe it is, but it might be better to be realistic early and work out other alternative ways to carry out your dream. Thats why I’m Funding through a nine to five. If you keep going to the last possible point of survival you can easily get so disillusioned that you stop alltogether.