For entrepreneurs who’s starting your own business, there are many battles to fight.
Especially on the front lines of self-importance and failure.
When you’re hammered by rejections left right and center, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Yes, we do want people to love what we’re doing because it’s simply so important to us.
But self importance isn’t just silly, it could be downright harmful to your entrepreneurial endeavours. So here are three ways I remind myself not to take things too seriously:
1. Don’t take things too personally
I used to take failure as a personal affront.
Whether it was a big or small task, the fact that I did not manage to do something well was a reflection of my self worth.
The problem with that was: when I took myself too seriously, every small failure or rejection seemed to be magnified a thousand times.
Then I decided to change tack.
When things didn’t go well, rather than thinking, ‘I failed.’ I started to think, ‘This strategy failed.’
This refocused my energies into coming up with alternative methods, rather than falling into a hole of unproductive self-blame.
2. Understand how society sees failure
Everyone likes to say, ‘Failure is the road to success.’
But knowing that in theory is very different from truly understanding that in reality.
The truth is, witnessing failure is an act of catharsis for many, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship.
People like to watch others fail. It’s fun. It makes them feel powerful, because they didn’t make the same mistakes as you did.
That’s the flip side of reality shows like Shark Tank. While it has inspired many amazing entrepreneurs, it has created an even bigger army of armchair critics.
They’re at the passenger’s seat, critiquing other people’s ideas and thinking: I could do it better.
The point is, inspirational quotes like ‘failure isn’t the end of the word’ is simply table chatter, until something has been done.
But sometimes, we’re so paralysed by potential embarrassment that we end up not doing anything at all.
When I first started writing, I was worried about what other people thought. What if they hated my writing style? What if they didn’t agree with my point of view? What if … ?
The irony is, the most courageous endeavours are born out of a desire to do something differently, and that by nature always creates dissent.
And even if I created something really bad, so what?
When you walk on the street, no one is going to know you as ‘the guy who wrote a crappy article’, ‘the guy who created a bad product’ or ‘the guy who sent out a million LinkedIn messages and got ignored’.
So get out there and try, because no one will remember the mistakes you made and the times you failed.
Only you do.
3. Laugh at your own existence
Allowing yourself to contemplate meaninglessness of life is actually a good exercise in self-awareness.
In acknowledging the inherent absurdity and humour of our human situations, we become braver and more resilient in the face of difficulties.
Knowing that there is no point in worrying about worrying about (no, there’s no typo here) your existence can be pretty liberating.
So what’s there to lose in trying?
Well, just be careful. A healthy dose is great for self-reflection, but not so much as to sink into a serious existential crisis.
At the end of the day, when we take ourselves less seriously, it’s much easier to see the humour in situations, and find the optimism to navigate through the ups and downs of life.
So guys, just take a chill pill and enjoy the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Let’s not take spelling too seriously too.
This article was first published in e27.co.