I Hate Motivational Anythings

I was invited to yet another motivational meetup to “help me reach my dreams”.

I didn’t go. I’ve never been. I’ll never go. Here’s why:

If you can’t get off your ass when your idea is still a perfect dream in your head, when the world hasn’t shit on your idea six different ways you never imagined, when you haven’t even written the idea down and realized not only that it isn’t that great but that it doesn’t even make sense, when it’s just you and a whiteboard and your ass is in a chair, look out because this, this is the moment it is easiest.

It only gets harder from here. It never gets easier than this very moment. If you need something to help you do the easiest part you are in big trouble.

If you find yourself beating around the bush of your ‘dream’ but never making any real headway, still working at your day job, never becoming emotional about the problem you are trying to solve, I have some Hard Facts Lunch Club for you[1]:

Don’t get up. Don’t do it. This isn’t your dream.

A workshop won’t save you. An app won’t save you. An executive coach won’t save you.

The only thing that will save you is yourself. The same you that should have stood up and started cranking already. The same you will put it all on the line against hundreds of uninformed arguments. The same you that will look your friends in the eye as they write you checks putting their sweat behind you and your dream. The same you that will hustle to get a meeting with your hero only to have their fist slammed on the table and shout “I will never fund a company like this in my life! I swear to god, not a dollar of my LPs money, not a cent of mine!‘ The same you that will meet people smarter and younger and better funded than you working on the same idea with more traction at 2am at a bar at SXSW.[2]

The point is this: If you can’t do it when its easy, what makes you think you can do it when its hard? It gets very, very, terribly hard. Failure is hard. In startups, even success is hard!

If you want to do a startup as a journey for self-fulfillment or happiness; I’d recommend riding your bike across New Hampshire.

The only reason to do a startup is because you are completely and totally consumed not just with ideas, but actions. Because you can’t help staying up all night just to make that next meeting perfect. Because you learned to code since you couldn’t find someone to join you yet and had to turn this idea into something no matter what.

You don’t need motivation. You need a reality check.


[1] Follow me on twitter @aten and I’ll invite you to HFLC. Mr.@ReillyBrennan and I are overdue for another one. You can only tell the truth. The real truth. No matter what.

[2] These all happened to me while working on Swift.fm, my last startup, acquired in Jan 2012.

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