I can look at a friendship, connection or business partnership that I’m currently in the midst of and trace it back through 10, 100, 1000 actions taken over the last few years. Each action exponentially effects the actions and outcomes in the future.
This butterfly effect is caused by three factors:
- Constant action
- Relentless persistence towards a worthy goal
- Constant connecting
The difference between the last 2 years of my life and all the years before can be boiled down to one thing: action. Since the most pivotal trip of my life (going to Italy for a month to visit my bestie spring of 09′) I have taken bold action in an escalating fashion that has brought me far closer to my goal of becoming self made than a normal trajectory would have.
Constant action though is not necessarily fun, it often goes against one’s better judgment and 9 times out of 10 it ends in failure. But as good ole’ Winnie said:
I never worry about action, but only inaction. – Winston Churchill
Action is what will take you to points in your life where something pivotal is bound to happen.
I recently realized that I am a hell of a lot closer to bringing on board a CTO for Zirtual than I first thought.
I realized this because a complete stranger – who read a post of mine submitted to hackernews where I was painted in a less than flattering light – reached out to me and wanted to help, just because. He explained to me my issues in hiring a CTO and what I really should be looking for – then, as if magically, I found that person sitting right under my nose.
This post was submitted to HN because I had posted it on my blog – because I had met a guy a few months ago at a party who told me the importance of me having a technical team out here in the US. I had met this guy when he paid for a car to take me home from a party I had gotten my macbook stolen at – I was nearly in tears and he felt bad for me.
I was at that party – and got my $2000 macbook stolen at a time when things were already stretched thin – because of the guy who threw it who was introduced to me by a lady who was introduced to me by Adeo (who runs the Founder Institute – the reason I came out to San Francisco in the first place).
I could go on.
Needless to say there are a million different variables that will come out of the one action – me moving to San Francisco, and thousands that will come out of the multiple other actions:
- not fretting about my stolen laptop, following up with the guy who sent me home in a car & having lunch with him
- seizing the opportunity to meet every person I can, no matter how I feel/look/etc
- keeping in touch with people after meeting them
- opening myself up for ridicule by jumping into something before I’m 100% ready or prepared
What’s the moral?
Act. Constantly. Do not stop moving until you have hit your goal – it’s the only thing that will propel you forward. Never forget Newton’s first law on inertia:
an object in motion tends to stay in motion
Relentless persistence towards a worthy goal
Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals. -Aristotle
I guess this should have been first. The reason you constantly act is because you are propelled towards a worthy goal. It doesn’t have to be worthy in another’s mind, or worthy to the world – just to you – that is essential.
I have set in my mind and documented my goal with Zirtual countless times in this blog and elsewhere. In my mind – true or not – failure is not an option.
As Paul Graham says in his brilliant post that you all should read called relentless resourceful persistence is the complete opposite of haplessness. One leads to success, one leads to failure – they are the biggest pointers to people who will succeed regardless of all other things stacked for or against them.
Another quote that I have stuck on my wall at work and that I look to whenever I’m feeling low is this epic bad boy:
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
Never pass up the opportunity to meet someone. No matter what your position in life is, or theirs… 9 times out of 10 you’ll gain something from the experience, especially if you’re looking.
People who are dating seem to understand this philosophy – though they only apply it to a very small area of their life. As entrepreneurs and people pursuing their purpose in life we need to make this a mantra and never miss an opportunity to make a human connection.
Besides action & persistence, connecting with other people is the one key thing that has made a huge difference in my life and business. 3 years ago I was more of a wallflower. I would never go out alone, I mostly stuck to my boyfriend’s friends and my close circle – now I’m the complete opposite.
I go out alone all the time. I love it. I always end up with 7 new friends from one night of going to a mixer by myself. I talk to everyone, especially people who look out of place – this is a great way to meet the most interesting people and it’s a sincere way of connecting.
Meeting people, listening, truly caring about what they have to say, not taking b.s. from anyone or kissing butt – will get you so, so far.
You never know when your future soul mate is going to walk through that door and you never know when the person who will introduce you to the person who will take your business to the next level will brush by you at a busy bar.
You can have anything you want–if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. -William Adams