There are many ideas that are not taught or discussed enough, personal finance, marriage, relationships, happiness, learning how to learn, and so on.
In some way, the focus of this blog is about all these things [some more than others].
One such topic that I try to do justice to is what ex-entrepreneur and a16z venture capitalist Ben Horowitz terms ‘the struggle.’
I see the struggle as life’s way of testing our mental strength.
And, mental strength is also one of those topics rarely discussed even if the idea of “grit” is beginning to surface in discussions around leadership and success.
Ben describes it well.
The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy.
The Struggle is not failure, but it causes failure. Especially if you are weak. Always if you are weak.
Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through The Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is The Struggle.
The Struggle is where greatness comes from.
Ben describes it in the context of entrepreneurship. I think it is equally applicable to life.
We are all entrepreneurs and leaders of Me, Inc., after all. And, most of us have experienced the struggle at some point.
And, if you have ever attempted to take initiative, start something, or ship something, you have definitely experienced the struggle.
Once the romance of starting something new goes away, the struggle usually takes over.
The hard part about the struggle is that it is something you almost always have to face yourself.
It is our customised mental strength regime, we just don’t know it.
Yes, they often tend to be first world problems but that does not make them any less difficult.
Problems that test mental strength are often the hardest of them all.
Depression and mental illnesses hit human beings regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Ben shares a few ideas in his post that might help.
My favorite is “focus on the road.”
“When they teach you how to drive a racecar, they tell you to focus on the road when you go around a turn. They tell you that because if you focus on the wall, then you will drive straight into the wall. If you focus on how you might fail, then you will fail. Even if you only have one bullet left in the gun and you have to hit the target, focus on the target. You might not hit it, but you definitely won’t hit if you focus on other things.”
Thanks Ben, for sharing your wisdom. And, here is to writing and discussing ideas that are not discussed enough.