Lessons on Entrepreneurship from Bamboo, Bees, and Blogging Gurus
“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try andn those who are afraid you will succeed. “— Ray Goforth
Do you have an idea that you are eager to get off the ground?
You are sure it’s a good idea — you know you can pull it off. Yet you’re a mess of anticipation and worry. You wonder why it’s taking so long, whether or not you’ve really got something.
Everyone goes through a period of hoping, waiting, and fretting whenever they undertake a challenging new project.
Here are some lessons to keep in mind while you work and wait:
The Secret of Bamboo Growth
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” — Samuel Johnson
In his book Rich20Something*, online entrepreneur Daniel DiPiazza tells the story of bamboo:
Bamboo, when it is planted, does not crack the surface of the ground. For five years, it stays underground, spreading its roots.
After it pokes its head out of the ground, however, bamboo shoots toward the sky at a staggering pace, growing as much as three feet in 24 hours.
Many life accomplishments are just like bamboo. People who look like “overnight successes,” aren’t. They spent years laying the foundation before things took off for them. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes before any business, product, or idea is presentable.
Harper Lee worked on her famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, for over three and a half years before the final version came out. In fact, Lee had to rewrite the entire book when her agent told her it was unfit for publication. But her hard work paid off: To this day, the book has never been out of print.
We must do the same: put our heads down and work on our projects without expecting overnight success. When the time is right, if we have laid the foundation and “grown our bamboo roots” deep enough, the resulting achievement will be spectacular.
How Honeybees Make the World a Better Place
“Not for ourselves alone are we born.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero
Sometimes what you do directly does not matter that much. It is what happens indirectly, as a side effect of your work, that makes the biggest impact.
In their book, One Minute Millionaire, Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G Allen relate the story of the humble honeybee. As the bee flies from flower to flower sipping nectar, it is unknowingly helping to pollinate the flowers.
Likewise, entrepreneurs can do a lot of good for many people as they pursue their objective, as long as they focus on creating a win-win situation.
People in the past have inadvertently invented all kinds of things** that we today can’t imagine living without: from chocolate chip cookies and Coca-cola to pacemakers and microwave ovens. And they did all these things on accident! These inventors weren’t trying to revolutionize cooking or create desserts that people around the world enjoy. It just happened.
Likewise, if you pursue your business in the right way, with the right intentions, the impact you have on others could be greater and more positive than you could ever have expected.
Getting Past the Dip
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’”— Luke 14:28
Seth Godin is arguably one of the biggest blogging gurus in the online world. He’s written dozens of books, thousands of short blog posts, and has millions of followers.
The book which resonated most with me, however, was a short, quick read titled: The Dip.
In it, Godin reminds readers that every important pursuit will hit a “dip,” a time when things get hard, you get tired, the future looks bleak, etc., etc.
There are two ways to deal with this:
- When you reach the Dip, this is the exact moment when you NEED to power through because this is where most people give up.
- If you want to give up, do so BEFORE you hit the Dip, before you even start, actually — before you’ve invested so many resources and so much time into something that you know you won’t follow through on.
In other words, plan well before you begin. But once you begin, don’t back down. The worst thing is to start building a tower, and then leave it undone halfway through when you run out of interest or material.
Work hard, and be patient. Give up quickly, at the start, if you know this pursuit is not for you, but don’t give up halfway just because you are tired.
Pursue things with all your might, with good morals and ethics, so that others will benefit from your success — including those you directly help, and an even larger population of people you indirectly.
If you do all these things, achievement will not only be likely…
It will be inevitable.
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