Keep Going

This startup thing is an emotional roller coaster.  Some weeks are amazingly positive, with tons of product progress and great meetings.  And others are slower, with technical problems that won’t get better.  I wanted to share some inspirational thoughts I’ve had lately, in hopes that they’ll be useful to you, too.

Problems aren’t worth solving if they’re not challenging.  A startup that isn’t difficult to build will have lots of competitors, or won’t tackle big enough problems to change the world.  I’m in this to change the world, so for better or worse I’m tackling very challenging problems.

During those challenges, though, it’s so easy to doubt yourself.  To think you’re not capable of doing it.  To think you’re not good enough, or don’t have the right experience or skills to carry on, or that you’ll screw it up anyway.  Bull shit.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  You just need to keep going.  Never stop.  And don’t let anything, especially yourself, stop you.

The most challenging things we do are what make us who we are. They bring out our nervousness and negative emotions, such as self doubt, and tune us into who we are and who we will become.  They make us stronger, more durable, and they open our hearts to those who are suffering and in difficult times, too.

I expect most of you have at least one challenge going on right now.  Maybe you’re unsure about your ability to write good code.  Or maybe you’re scared you’re pursuing the wrong major.  Or maybe you’re moving to a new city without a job lined up.  Times are hard.  But it’s these times that we’ll look back at when we’re older and be proud of.

And be proud right now.  Be proud for having the courage to be where you are right now, to be facing the challenge in the first place.  You’ve already overcome so much.  Just keep going, damnit.  Keep going until you’re sitting on top of the mountain you just moved, looking down at how you’ve made (or will make) an impact in the world.  Because you will if you haven’t already.  You just have to keep going.

  • D Jason

    Thanks Alex!

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  • Lindsay S

    Well said!

  • MS

    No
    kidding; there’s nothing like uncertainty to bring out negative emotions. 
    Interesting sidebar, when I took the GMAT back in September, it was the first
    time I’ve ever taken a high stakes standardized test without being even
    slightly anxious, which was a foreign experience for me, usually I’m wrought
    with nervousness.  I often get myself into trouble by treating problems in
    a binary manner, assigning too much importance to an individual task or
    event.  For example, if I don’t get this score my life is over….  Anyway, you mentioned the occasional
    frustration of a slow or unproductive week, while your week may feel less
    productive, maybe you learned more in that week than you would have it was were
    smooth sailing on the job.  My advice: persistently analyze your desires,
    set goals and challenges and don’t get discouraged when immediate gratification
    doesn’t come.  Cheers!

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  • rajesh mandal

    Thanks Alex for this post. Helps me a lot.