“Successful entrepreneurs realize that in a world where you can’t predict the future, what do you do? Act. If you can’t predict the future, create it. Creation-oriented action. There is an academic, real correlation between entrepreneurs and this belief; that is, studies show this is how most entrepreneurs think.
“Indiana Jones is actually a good example here. He’s thrust into the dark. Can’t see. What does he do? You ask: What do I have on me? Where are my feet? Not going to jump around. I’ll take a small step. OK, does it feel like I can take another step? Oh, on my belt I have a flashlight. Maybe that can help me a bit. You, playing Indiana Jones, know exactly how to get out of a dark hole. And these are exactly the rules you need to understand to take entrepreneurial action.
“In the face of unknowability, what does rational behavior look like? Action. You can’t think your way into an unknowable future, so your only way forward is to act. How? Take small steps–not big leaps. Small steps. [Prior point: It is a myth that entrepreneurs are inclined to take huge risks; they are inclined to minimize risk.] Take a small step with what you have in hand. Limit the risk with each step. Then build off what you actually find from taking that step, whether good or bad, and would be nice to have some friends and resources standing by to help.
“Successful entrepreneurs also start with things they care about. The question is not where do you find opportunity, but what is it you would like to do? We start with you. Entrepreneurs are always doing what they want to do, or think will get them what they want. In the face of unknowability, taking any other action is simply foolish. So, given who you are and what you want, what step should you take? Sometimes you might see someone else with an idea, and partner up. 50% of entrepreneur partnerships in their study started simply because the people liked each other — not even a big idea. This works.
“Now we get to the part where the bankers and financial experts in the room will be deeply offended. They have all developed ways to measure risk. We live in a world of affordable loss. To put more numbers on that just makes things more depressing and doesn’t work. How do you decide what to do? Well, how badly do you want to do it. Then you act. Then you bring some other people along. Willow Creek is a good example here actually — take a look at what they’ve been doing.
“Now, what keeps people from doing this? First, they get completely caught up about what they’re trying to do. So how about not worrying about that, but instead thinking about what you’ll do next. Stop worrying about what you want to do, and instead worry about what you should do next. [Sounds familiar — what’s best next!] Second, people fear failure. They think ‘we can’t fail.’ We’ve been educated to believe that failure is a dirty word. That when people fail, we send them away and they disappear. ‘If you fail you go to the desert and don’t come back.’ But in reality, if you take a step and it doesn’t turn out how you expected, quite likely you just learned something that nobody else knows. So for those uncomfortable with calling it failure, call it ‘an exercise in learning what nobody else knows.'”
Solving big problems:
- Baby steps
- Small wins
Multiple simultaneous ventures.
With action trumping everything, you get more at bats in the same elapsed time. And greater aggregate number of ventures for society as a whole, taking us all on a journey towards solutions.