How To Not Freak Out All The Time

September 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

Last weekend I picked up Being There by Jerzy Kosinski in a second hand bookstore. I bought it because I thought James Altucher recommended it in one of his blogposts.

Being There is about a gardener with mental issues who fascinates the high-society because of his seemingly visionary responses to their problems. Even though they don’t really understand what he’s talking about, and he doesn’t really know what they want from him, he’s perceived as the man who’s got his shit together.

When asked about the state of the economy, he returns to what working in his garden taught him, and responds with the following line:

Growth has its season. There are spring and summer, but there are also fall and winter. And then spring and summer again. As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all be well.

When I read this I got reminded of a discussion I had with my business partner a couple of weeks ago. He was reacting in an emotional way to a situation that I thought was pretty good and he felt was pretty bad. I felt the business was making slow but steady progress, he felt progress should be quicker.

This discussion on the quickness of progress reminded me of a thing I really believe in: trusting the process.

My friend often has a way of overreacting to the small stuff, then directing his stresses at me – and kind of expecting a quick fix. I guess that’s one of the things where we complement each other.

And I’m grateful for that because these situations happen all the time and they’ve been one of the best lessons I got out of starting a business. I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t met Marcus & Seneca though. If I hadn’t read their stuff I probably would have been a balding 23 year old with ulcers and a desk job by now.

Back to the discussion: we actually had this one texting on the phone, while he was abroad. This is my least favorite way of discussing these matters and normally I would ignore his text and just talk about it later. But having just finished Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s (NNT) book of aphorisms I remembered him writing how “one good maxim allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.”

And NNT actually had one himself that I could apply in this situation:

Robustness is progress without impatience.

And that is, in my opinion, one of the most important qualities you need to have as an entrepreneur: You need to trust the process. And to add something to it:

You need to aim at trusting the process in a tranquil, elegant way. Aim for Sprezzatura, not nervous uncertainty.

Whatever happens – whatever season or climate your garden is in – you need to keep grinding out the necessary work because you know this is the process. And you know – just know  it’s a process, in progress.

As Kosinski says in Being There:

If you love your garden, you don’t mind working in it, and waiting. Then in the proper season you will surely see it flourish.

Trusting the process should be enough.

If you always expect something out of everything you will often be the sucker – or feel like the sucker. Either because something didn’t happen – or because it did not yet happen.

How you feel in between these phases is something you should aim at controlling.

Patience is a virtue.

Trust your garden.

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