On desires, games, swimming pools and The Beatles
1 Quote, 1 Thought. For founders (not) only.
Hi, troublemakers! 👋
Here's a powerful quote I've highlighted this week, along with a thought for you to reflect this weekend.
Take care and unwind!
From Naval Ravikant:
“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”
Source: X.com / The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
Money as a driving desire is a dead-end for founders. First, the financial reward in starting a startup is usually delayed. This lack of immediate progress can undermine motivation during tough times. Second, money can be a poisoned apple. I've seen founders pivot to profitable but short-term models, sacrificing the opportunity to build something 10x greater in the long run. Third, the pursuit of money can lead to immoral choices, ending up in jail.
Status as an ambition is even worse. To echo N. Ravikant, “Ignore people playing status games. They gain status by attacking those creating wealth. Be your own person and play the long game.”
So, why start a company at all?
Here are a few healthier drivers:
Creating Something New: This is what fuels me. Don’t tell me there’s anything more satisfying than creating demand for an idea that originated as a mere spark in your mind??
Solving Problems: Whether you're solving simple or complex problems, the thought of improving the lives of even a handful of people is exhilarating. And the impact when you address the needs of billions is unimaginable!
Bringing Joy: Life is challenging. Anything that adds humor and joy is invaluable. Kudos to those creators.
Solving Puzzles: This is another personal motivator for me. I like to think that building a successful company is like solving a pretty f*cking hard puzzle.
Becoming Better: Embracing the practice of continuous improvement is probably the most robust form of motivation. As Seth Godin puts it in "The Practice": "The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output." It's entirely under our control.
And what about the swimming pool mentioned in the title?
Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'
— Paul McCartney
Reading this post, you might get the impression that I think money is not important.
I am not.
I run a business, not a charity, and I have my desires and a family to care for.
However, money should not be the compass.
I like to view money as points scored in the game I play. The more points I have, the better I play. But at the end of the day, the game ends and life goes on.
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