“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”
Colonel Harland Sanders (Founder, Kentucky Fried Chicken)
“It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.”
Edwin Land, (Co-founder, Polaroid)
“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”
Thomas Edison, (Co-Founder, General Electric)
You don’t have electricity.
You don’t have a phone.
You don’t have the Internet.
Could you thrive?
People used to do it all the time.
People used to start businesses without them all the time.
They even became multimillionaires without them.
Many of the greatest entrepreneurs started their businesses before they had the luxuries of modern times.
One of the best examples of this comes from Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin was a strong businessman, but it wasn’t always that way.
He was born into a family of seventeen children, and they were far from rich.
Sixteen brothers and sisters—what?
Early in life, he moved to Philadelphia to try and kick-start his career.
He worked in a printing shop to make ends meet, but he was unsatisfied working for someone else.
He wanted to be his own man.
He used the business lessons he learned in the printing shop to make a plan to start his own newspaper.
Then he acted on that plan.
Franklin started saving and investing in himself.
He established a partnership with someone who had the same ideas for getting their goals accomplished.
He was on a mission.
A mission to be a self-made man.
His mission was about more than making money.
He wanted to establish himself.
He wanted to show others what was possible.
Benjamin Franklin was born into nothing.
But he didn’t let that define him.
Instead, he made a plan, set his sights on his goals, asked for help when needed, and never gave up.
Here’s what he didn’t do…
He didn’t complain about being poor.
He didn’t complain about being in a lower class at the start of his life.
He didn’t complain about not having enough resources.
Instead, Franklin made things happen for himself.
He became a master of social media before computers existed.
Before the thought of a computer existed.
Franklin became a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
He founded the country’s first circulating library, first volunteer fire department, first philosophical society, first liberal arts academy, first public hospital, and first mutual insurance company.
He invented the Pennsylvania stove, lightning rod, flexible catheter, the 24-hour three-wheel clock, the glass armonica, and bifocals.
Franklin didn’t invent everything.
But he used everything to his advantage.
He didn’t invest in the printing press or newspapers.
But he used both to start his own projects, then start his own businesses, and then to create his own inventions.
By stepping out to start your own project, you can do the same.
By stepping out to make something happen for yourself, you can become more independent, happier, and more successful.
Why You Need To Start A Business
Starting a business or starting a personal project is about more than just making money.
Starting your own business is about taking control over your destiny in life.
A study published in the Journal of Development Entrepreneurship showed that people who start businesses or personal projects had better health than those who did not.
The study found that these “starters” also had improved baseline health metrics months AFTER starting their businesses or projects.
Starting your own business is good for your health.
And it’s easy to see why.
When you work for someone else, you spend your entire life devoted to helping them make their dreams come true.
That’s great for your boss.
But not for you.
While you toil away at your job, your boss enjoys true freedom.
The freedom of being his own boss.
This kind of freedom creates happiness.
It creates health.
But what about your dreams?
Starting your own business allows you to focus on YOUR dreams.
If you want to be happy, healthy, and successful in life, you must start something of your own.
If you want to truly experience all the freedom life has to offer, you must make something happen for yourself.
How To Make Something Happen For Yourself
People dream big all the time.
Talking about these dreams can be helpful.
But spending too much time just talking can be crippling.
You’ll never achieve your dreams just by talking about them.
You’ll never gain more independence, wealth, happiness, or success just by talking.
You have to take action.
What does taking action look like?
It looks like building a road map to your goals and following through.
It looks like leveraging your natural strengths.
It looks like being honest with yourself.
If you’re honest with yourself, you know that you were meant for more.
You know that you were meant to make something happen for yourself.
Here are five strategies for making something happen for yourself now…
1. Get excited by the possibility of failure.
You won’t get it right the first time.
You’ll feel like a fool.
You’ll be embarrassed.
This is a good thing.
The biggest difference between successful people and failures is, ironically, their attitude towards failure.
If you’re afraid of failure, you’re almost certain to fail.
Even worse, you may not even try in the first place.
And that is the ultimate failure.
But if you embrace failure, if you see it as a chance to learn and grow, you’ll continually improve.
You’ll grow and grow until you achieve mastery.
Perfection is a process.
Your project or business idea doesn’t have to be great to start.
But you do have to start it to eventually be great.
Success only comes after a string of failures.
It comes from boldly taking on failure.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel, optimize it.
If you can come up with an amazing new invention that changes the way people live their lives, you can become incredibly successful.
But that’s not going to happen right away.
It may never happen.
The hard truth is that you may not be as visionary or successful as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.
You can still achieve mastery.
Starting your own business or personal project doesn’t always mean inventing a brand new idea to give to the world.
It doesn’t mean inventing a computer or a car from scratch.
If that were true, almost nobody would be successful.
Instead, it means taking something that already exists and making it better.
McDonald’s didn’t invent the hamburger.
Epiphone didn’t invent the electric guitar.
Facebook didn’t invent the social network.
Yet, each of these companies is wildly successful.
Stop thinking that you have to invent an entirely new idea.
You just have to improve on ideas and processes that already exist.
It doesn’t matter if someone did it before you.
It only matters if you can do it a little better than they did.
3. Find something you can obsess over.
What do you love?
I mean really, really love.
What do you never get bored of?
What could you talk about for hours on end until the person you’re talking to glazes over and stops caring?
Deep down, you already know the answer.
It popped into your head as soon as you started reading this section.
You thought of the answer as soon as I asked, “What do you love?”
Latch on to your answer.
When you’re passionate about something, it pops into your head daily.
It kicks you on the inside.
It jumps in your face.
The problem is that most people push aside their passions.
They deflect the kick.
They trip the jump.
Stop silencing the inner voice that’s telling you to change directions.
Look—there’s a big difference between working on something because you’re told to, and working on something because you want to.
By consciously mapping your perfect day and ideal lifestyle, you create the opportunity to actually obtain it.
By designing a magnificent obsession, you build momentum.
Being a success at anything comes down to being able to obsessively put your energy towards your true goals.
When your energy is going toward something you love, you’ll have twice the stamina you normally do.
Nothing will be able to stop you.
You’ll be able to build a business that revolves around your lifestyle, instead of a lifestyle around working for someone else.
4. Protect your project from bullies and whiners.
When you’re successful, people will try to mooch off of you.
If you’re not careful, these emotional vampires will suck you dry.
These whiners will start coming out of the woodwork.
People you haven’t seen in years.
Old high school buds.
Distant relatives you never knew existed.
People who didn’t care if you lived or died last week.
These people will see you starting to make something happen for yourself and they’ll want to stop you.
Your momentum will highlight their stagnation.
They’ll see your success and feel entitled to it themselves.
They’ll feel like you owe them.
They’ll feel like society owes them.
The people who weren’t there to help you start your business or personal project will be the first ones lining up to mooch off of you.
They’ll bully you into helping them by playing the victim.
Or they’ll whine incessantly until you give them what they want.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” to these people.
Protect your personal projects.
Protect your passions.
Realize that a real friend would never make you feel bad for being successful.
A real friend will support your ventures, not make you feel guilty at every turn.
Be smart enough to differentiate the people who truly support you and those who merely want to manipulate you into making them feel better about themselves.
5. Dream wildly, but plan strategically.
Is your idea insane?
Is it over the top?
Does it seem like a huge risk?
Allow yourself to have crazy ideas.
Even if everyone around you tells you they’re crazy.
The more unreasonable your vision, the better.
When it comes to the vision you have for your life, there’s absolutely no value in listening to the small-minded people around you.
Never let the fears and prejudices of unsuccessful people influence your decisions.
Look—many of the most brilliant people in history had ideas others thought were crazy.
But crazy doesn’t always mean bad.
Crazy is only bad if you don’t have a plan to make it work.
Taking a huge risk is always going to sound crazy at first, but once the risk pays off, it’s no longer that crazy.
Instead, the crazy idea becomes “visionary.”
It becomes “forward-thinking.”
It becomes “obvious.”
The key is to have a road map for turning your crazy idea into a reality.
Taking a huge risk is a leap of faith, and your plan is the parachute.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and roll with the punches.
But NEVER limit your dreams.
Starting a business or personal project of any kind is a rite of passage. It’s the chance to turn your ideas into something real. By deciding to make something happen for yourself, you can create a ripple effect of success in your life. This ripple effect will affect others around you, motivating them to higher levels of success too. The key is to create a strong purpose, work obsessively towards it, and then protect it from bullies and whiners. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.
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