Crossing the Finish LineA particularly astute observation from Mark Minervini in his book Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard is that people tend to overestimate what they can do and achieve in the short term, and underestimate what they can do in the long term.

This rings particularly true to me in the context of business and entrepreneurship.  When an entrepreneur has a new business idea, he is full of bravado and enthusiasm.  You might be critical of his idea, give guidance on how marketing is more difficult than he has anticipated, or opine on why the sales cycle likely means that the revenue is unrealistic, but he will downplay your concerns.  You might suggest that she needs more experience before taking on a new endeavor, but she will have unbridled enthusiasm that she will meet her goals quickly and efficiently.

This rarely pans out.  In fact, I have, pretty much without exception, never seen projections from an entrepreneur that were made or exceeded.  The business always encounters issues, and is slower going than expected.

However, once this reality sets in and the entrepreneur sees that his earlier prediction has not panned out, something flips.  The bravado gives way to insecurity and the entrepreneur who was once pounding her chest now feels defeated.  This leads entrepreneurs to give up far before they should.

Those who are successful often aren’t the ones who are the smartest or the most creative, but those that are willing to get back up every time they are knocked down and try again.  Not to say that you should continue to make the same mistakes on an ongoing basis.  You need to learn from what doesn’t work.  But mastery, in business and in any pursuit, takes time.  And everything in business takes longer than it should (see my Rule of 3 in business).  This means that just because something doesn’t happen on your timeframe, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at all.

Almost anything that you do – if it is worth doing – will be harder than you imagine.  But if you put in the time and effort, persistence can help you get there.