Success (but not really)

This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a while, especially this quote:

In the face of the overwhelming deluge, we spend more and more time reading and listening, leaving less and less space for action. Knowing about problems comes to replace doing something about them.

This happens all the time in school, startups, anything. You read about how hard it is for recent graduates to get jobs, think about what separates you from other graduates you know, and feel a sense of success. You have an idea and a friend likes it – success. I think about all the things I will do to market RoommateFit – success. Planning becomes a replacement for execution. It’s far harder to land a job in a tough economy, build a business, or execute on company strategy than it is to think about it. Envisioning success, enjoying the positive feedback for something you haven’t done provides a senese of success that isn’t real.

It’s even worse when you tell yourself stories about non-events, and allow it to affect your behavior. “This strategy will work, then I’ll become a millionaire” leads to an inflated sense of self. That’s certainly something I’m guilty of far more than I’d like.

More and more I’m understanding that this way of thinking is a crutch. Not only does it give you an inflated sense of self, but it creates echo chambers of individuals talking about their next big idea or what they are going to accomplish. This is a big reason why so many networking events I’ve been to suck – people want to talk about what they’re going to do, not what they are working on or what they’ve done. Unless you have an idea of next steps to take and when you will take them, most likely it’s just not going to happen. It’s far easier to give yourself credit for the great job you will have someday than it is to face the rejection and hard work that goes into getting such a job. All I know is that I don’t want the impermanent satisfaction that comes from talking a big game – I want the life and the results that come from working hard and shipping.