Sacrilegious? Maybe. But entrepreneurs choose their own principles
“Money is waiting for you.”
I hastily open the Paypal email and scroll down. It was all there — $600, ready for deposit. The client paid me upfront.
I was 19, it was Saturday afternoon, and I was living in a college town. It was time to partyyy — images of shots, girls, and Long Island Iced Teas came into focus. I could almost hear the insipid club music.
But something felt… off. My smile disappeared, and the images vanished. My manic jubilation transformed into intense guilt.
Why did I feel guilty? The deadline for the project was weeks away so I had plenty of time. I could easily party tonight, rest on Sunday, then get started on Monday.
There was no reason I couldn’t go out; I had the freedom and the means. But this wasn’t a matter of practicality, but principle.
I told my friends I was staying in. I couldn’t party tonight.
My “boring” weekend
I spent the rest of my Saturday afternoon planning the client’s project then went to sleep.
I woke up on Sunday and got straight to work. I finished a significant chunk of the project — all before my hungover roommate opened his bedroom door.
I felt incredible. There’s a feeling of transcendence that occurs when you choose what’s right over what’s easy.
I knew I’d made the right decision.
At lunch, my good friend and roommate recounted the events from Saturday night’s party. He eventually said:
“Why didn’t you come out? You missed a great time.”
I’m sure I did. Our crew always had fun, and the added joy of getting paid $600 would definitely have made for a great night.
But unfortunately, we all have limited time on this earth. We must make tough choices. We must prioritize.
We must choose principles over temptations.
Entrepreneurs should be iconoclastic
I didn’t drop out of college and pursue entrepreneurship to go partying the moment I get a check.
I chose a different path and thus I hold myself to different standards. I can’t play by the rules of the majority; I make my own rules and follow my own intuition.
In the great business book, Anything You Want, Dereck Sivers states:
“Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.”
As an entrepreneur, you need to know what you’re doing and why. It’s easy to stray from your core principles once the money comes in…
Don’t. Do the opposite; reinforce your cores values. Stay the course, keep the momentum.
Why start on Monday when you can start on Sunday?
And when I say “start on Sunday” I don’t mean start on a specific day; I mean forge your own path based on your own principles.
In other words, choose that feeling of transcendence I felt when I worked on Sunday.
Screw days, screw tradition, screw average. Choose your principles and follow them each day. As Apollo said in Rocky 3:
“There is no tomorrow.”
So, start everything on Sunday.