You want to be right, or you want to be rich?

by Holland-Mark | September 24, 2011

This post originally published in Bostinnovation

It takes a certain confidence to be an entrepreneur. You’re brute-forcing something into the world that didn’t exist, in the face of indifference, cynicism, or even opposition. Not for the faint of heart.

The hardest part of a startup for me is that transition from where you have an inner circle of people excited about your idea, to where you connect with the real opportunity – what some call the point of “Product/Market Fit.” In that valley you’re trying to balance the conviction required to will something into existence with the need for openness and flexibility in “corrupting” your vision with feedback from the actual marketplace. Tricky stuff.

Working closely with a couple of serially successful entrepreneurs over the last few weeks, I’ve observed a pattern in their behavior. To a man, they are more concerned with getting rich than they are with being right.

We all have baggage. Among mine is that I like to be right. I really like to be right. And I’m right a lot. Which is nice.

Except when I’m not. And I’ve been wrong about some biggies in my swings at the plate.

Great entrepreneurs don’t care about being right… at least about whether they were right when they decided whatever they decided last week, or last month, or last year. They defend those choices in the manner of good dinner conversation… strong opinions, weakly held. Their focus is on doing what it takes now to give their businesses the best possible chance of success. I think there’s something in that for the rest of us.

I’m reading a book right now called The Power of Now, by an author Jeff Bussgang recommended in a recent blog post, Eckhart Tolle. One of the ideas that’s really stuck to me is that the past and the future are just “illusions of the mind.” They are fabrications, not real, and not worth concerning ourselves with. There is only now… only the moment we are in, and the choice of what we think, feel, or do in this moment.

It’s good advice in life, especially for entrepreneurs.

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