David Foster Wallace once told a joke about two young fish who run into an older fish. The older fish says: “Morning boys, how’s the water?”

The two young fish swim on for a while before one turns to the other and asks: “What the hell is water?

Entrepreneurs can become so caught up in their business ideas, strategies, and day-to-day operations that they may lose sight of the bigger picture.

They may become conditioned to think and behave in certain ways without even realising it. This can lead to unconscious biases or blind spots that can hinder their ability to innovate, adapt, and succeed in a dynamic business environment.

Therefore, it’s important for entrepreneurs to be aware of their surroundings and remain vigilant to the changing conditions of their industry, market, and customers.

By remaining open to new ideas and perspectives, entrepreneurs can avoid becoming complacent or stuck in outdated thinking patterns.

In essence, the fish in the joke are like entrepreneurs who are swimming in the “waters” of their business environment.

By being mindful of the “water” around them, entrepreneurs can stay alert and adaptable, and ultimately increase their chances of success.

When Netflix first entered the market, it disrupted the traditional video rental business by offering a subscription-based service that allowed customers to stream movies and TV shows on demand.

This innovation fundamentally changed the way people consumed video content and eventually led to the decline of traditional video rental stores like Blockbuster.

The traditional video rental stores were like fish in the water that couldn’t see the changing market conditions around them.

They were conditioned to think in terms of physical stores and late fees, and they were unable to adapt to the new business model that Netflix was introducing.

By being open to new ideas and taking risks, Netflix was able to disrupt the market and create a new industry that has revolutionised the way people consume entertainment.

It is important to be aware of the “water” around us and be open to new ideas, even if they may seem unconventional or unfamiliar.

If you want to build a successful business, don’t be like the fish swimming in the water. Be the one who sees the water for what it is, the environment that shapes your opportunities and your challenges.

Embrace the currents of change, stay alert to the signs of disruption, and be ready to take risks and innovate.

In the end, it’s not the size of the fish that matters, it’s the ability to swim against the stream and create something new.

So go ahead and make a splash.

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