The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around. That’s all you need to know. —MARCUS AURELIUS
In 1915, deep in the jungles of South America, the rising conflict between two rival American fruit companies came to a head. Each desperately wanted to acquire the same five thousand acres of valuable land.
Under the comb, the tangle and the straight path are the same. —HERACLITUS
Coach Nick Saban doesn’t actually refer to it very often, but every one of his assistants and players lives by it. They say it for him, tattooing it at the front of their minds and on every action they take, because just two words are responsible for their unprecedented success: The Process.
For nearly a year, General Ulysses S. Grant tried to crack the defenses of Vicksburg, a city perched high on the cliffs of the Mississippi, critical to the Confederacy’s stranglehold on the most important river in the country. He tried attacking head-on. He tried to go around. He spent months digging a new canal that would change the course of the river. He blew the levees upstream
Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind. There’s no other definition of it. —F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
Steve Jobs was famous for what observers called his “reality distortion field.” The part motivational tactic, part sheer drive and ambition, this field made him notoriously dismissive of phrases such as “It can’t be done” or “We need more time.” Having learned early in life that reality was falsely hemmed in by rules and compromises that people had been taught as children, Jobs had a much more aggressive idea of what was or wasn’t possible. To him, when you factored in vision and work ethic, much of life was malleable. For instance, in the design stages for a new mouse for an early Apple product, Jobs had high expectations. He wanted it to move fluidly in any direction—a new development for any mouse at that time—but a lead engineer was told by one of his designers that this would be commercially impossible.
IN 1898, A psychologist named Edward Thorndike conducted an experiment that would lay the foundation for our understanding of how habits form and the rules that guide our behavior.1 Thorndike was interested in studying the behavior of animals, and he started by working with cats. He would place each cat inside a device known as a puzzle box. The box was designed so that the cat could escape through a door “by some simple act, such as pulling at a loop of cord, pressing a lever, or stepping on a platform.”
I have often thought that the best way to define a man’s character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt most deeply and intensively active and alive. At such moments, there is a voice inside which speaks and says, “This is the real me.” —William James Letters of William James
Leaders have a significant role in creating the state of mind that is society. They can serve as symbols of the moral unity of the society. They can express the values that hold society together. Most important, they can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations, carry them above the conflicts that tear a society apart and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts. —John W. Gardner No Easy Victories
13 years into my soul-crushing indoctrination into entrepreneurship, it became clear why I’d failed so many times. I had acted based on assumptions instead of making decisions based on real data. When I purchased another company, I assumed I could bolt on $40,000 profit. Wrong. When I launched Informly, I assumed that if I created something great then people would buy it. Wrong. When I released a new version of Informly, I assumed that people would act according to the survey results. Wrong again. The only time I didn’t act out of assumptions was with WP Curve. I had no time to assume anything. I launched, and every important decision came afterwards. I based those decisions on real customer behavior, not assumptions. The ability to learn from real data is why the 7 Day Startup works. You wipe assumptions off the table. Your focus is on launching in 7 Days.