How Nature can Make Entrepreneurs Measure Success Differently
It takes a seed about 80 days to turn into a flower.
It takes 8 life stages for a tadpole to turn into a frog.
It takes about 12 steps to recycle used PET bottles into a fleece sweater.
It takes you 365 days to make you look one year older, not just one birthday.
Everything on earth is bound to gradual, consistent change. Nothing is permanent.
The past 10 days I’ve done nothing else than sitting in silence to notice my own bodily changes. Learning to objectively observe very small (biochemical) changes on your skin is the basis of Vipassana, one of India’s most ancient meditation techniques.
Although it was one of the toughest experiences I’ve ever had to endure, it taught me how to become more patient to noticing change.
As a scientist I believed it on day one: just like everything else in nature we are also bound to the law of impermanence. However, it took me seven very long days of hard practice to be able to actually sense very small, biochemical reactions that are consistently happening in my body, because every moment I’m changing (I’m not only becoming more wrinkly, also wiser (hopefully) and I’m processing food and thoughts and regulating my body temperature,…).
Since my PhD research work is focused to see how Biomimicry (learning from nature for sustainable innovation) can advance entrepreneurship, I started to think about the lessons I’ve learned from my silent Vipassana retreat.
This morning I read the medium post You Don’t Control The Outcomes Of Your Life, Principles Do. by Benjamin P. Hardy. This hits exactly the point that we are bound to Principles or natural laws, like gravity.
So, as entrepreneurs we have to accept that change is something gradual. We cannot expect that if we launch a new product that everyone will want it immediately. We cannot expect that if we start a new marketing campaign, we will see an increase in website visits the next day. We cannot expect that if we lower the price, the selling rate will skyrocket the next month.
We need to understand that change happens gradually.
Why is this important?
First of all to practice being patient. If you know not to expect overnight results from your effort, than we also learn not to despair and immediately try something else or stop your effort all together. Give it a realistic window of time. Be patiently and persistently! You can only see changes in a human face if you look at it over the course of a year, not while you are looking at someone.
Secondly, besides finding fitting KPIs you should also find the best fitting time window for evaluating them. Set realistic milestones and achievable goals. If you don’t see any results, ask yourself why before taking a conclusion that you failed.
Are you focusing on the suitable KPIs? Do you have the correct measuring tools? Maybe the change is just not yet noticeable? Have you given your effort enough support to actually being able to grow?
One of the reasons why I went to a 10 day silent Vipassana retreat is because many inspiring entrepreneurs and successful people recommend it.
I can only confirm that it was a life lesson of patience and persistence— be it the meditation or the endless time you’re left with only your own thoughts and nothing else.