How Much Suffering Are You Willing to Endure to Achieve Your Dreams?

Dear friend,

I want to make the case why you might want to become an entrepreneur.


What is Entrepreneurship?

I would define entrepreneurship as:

Taking personal risks to make your dreams a reality.

Ben Horowitz in ‘The Hard Things about Hard Things’ has a similar sentiment — life is short, why not pursue your dreams?


What are your dreams?

I made a new friend named Ryan, who runs a coffee shop in Palo Alto called ‘Backyard Brew’. He was able to successfully start his own company with $0 debt, and $0 borrowed money. He was ‘scrappy’ — he used foldable plastic tables (the ones you get from Costco), and some generic wooden chairs– and his business is booming. Too often than not, we always make excuses. We make excuses that we don’t have enough money, that we don’t have enough time, or we don’t have enough resources.

I don’t think we make excuses because we are lazy or inept people. I think we make excuses because we genuinely don’t understand or believe in ourselves enough– that we CAN indeed make our dreams a reality. The truth is, if we utilize our brain-power enough, and come up with ingenuous enough ideas– we can make any dream into a reality.


Great ideas come from need

Take for example AirBnb. Literally their business idea came from this simple idea:

What if we can make a bed-and-breakfast (B&B) homestay, only with an inflatable AIR bed?

Their idea sounded horrible– yet it is only BECAUSE they were so poor (and had a lack of resources) that they came up with this ingenuous idea.


Attempt

This is the difficult thing with ideas:

You never know how good (or bad) an idea is until you attempt it.

And that means taking personal risks. You can risk your reputation, your money, or your time-resources. But this is precisely what makes entrepreneurship fun — the risk involved!


Risk is what makes video games fun!

A videogame with no downside is no fun. A video game is only fun if there is a possibility of you losing!

For example, Starcraft is fun because it is challenging and difficult; and there is a high likelihood that you will lose, especially if you play against a South-Korean player.

Diablo II in hell mode was fun, because of the risk involved. If your Diablo II character died in ‘hell mode’, you would have to start all over again from the beginning. This is why the concept of ‘Ready Player One’ is so good– if you die in the video game, you lose all your points, all your virtual gold, and all of your level-points. Thus, the more personal risk and downside involved in games, or our lives– the more fun, challenging, and interesting!


How bad do you want it?

I truly believe we can do anything we desire in life, if we really desire to. The question is simply this:

How bad do you want it?

And,

What are you willing to sacrifice or trade for it?

For example if I were 18 years old, and if I wanted to become a millionaire, the best strategy would probably be getting into investment banking, plastic surgery, programming, or corporate law as a college student. Becoming a millionaire might take me 10-20 years, but if you’re diligent enough; you can.

But the question is,

Am I willing to make the personal sacrifices in order to become a millionaire?

And also realize there is a difference between spending a million dollars, or having a million dollars in the bank.

In order to have a million dollars in the bank, you must earn a lot of money, and spend little.

In other words,

Are you willing to live like a broke college student and eat cup-noodles while earning $200,000+ a year for 10-20 years in order to save a million dollars in the bank?


Only work what you’re passionate about

Passion means to burn. Passion also means ‘pati’ in Latin (to suffer).

I do believe that if you really care enough about something, you are willing to suffer for it.

This is what entrepreneurship is all about:

How much suffering are you willing to endure in order to achieve your dreams?

Blood, sweat, tears

To achieve your dreams, you must be willing to shed much blood, sweat, and tears. You must be willing to sacrifice much time, attention, resources, and your human metabolism to make your dreams into a reality.

Each of us is only allowed a maximum of around 120 years on planet Earth. Most likely, most of us will die in our 80’s. That means, everyday we are marching closer to death.

So the question is this:

Knowing that your life is short and limited, what is truly important to you — and what are you willing to sacrifice for it?

To achieve and do great things is difficult– but that is also what makes it fun and rewarding.

Never stop following your passion,
ERIC


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