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Zipwhip CEO on Why Most People Don't Succeed

"Commitment is a DECISION and the Latin root of the word decision means to cut. And so the word decision isn't that you're choosing to go one way over the other, it's actually that you're choosing to cut off other options."

This quote from my conversation with Zipwhip CEO, John Lauer really resonates with me.

I'm beginning to realize a common trait between successful people.

And that is the ability to stay laser focused on one idea for a long period of time and sacrificing whatever doesn't get them closer to their goals.

To not get distracted by the next shiny thing and let the problem they’re trying to solve take years to solve.

When asked what advice John would give to his 21 year old self, he said, "Go raise money! Money is oxygen to achieve a vision. And people are willing to rally around you if they believe in the vision too! It's always more than a year to get an idea manifested... so give it AT LEAST 3 years! But COMMIT to it! I think that's the problem. People aren't willing to commit!"

And John practices what he preaches...

He shares how he dropped out of one of the nations' top computer science programs during his LAST semester on purpose. That's right! Could you imagine dropping out during your last semester?! He says that he wanted to fully commit to becoming an entrepreneur the rest of his life and knew that by being an entrepreneur, he wouldn't need a resume, and thus wouldn't need the degree. That's fair, but just wait one more semester and then become an entrepreneur?

Nope! He wanted to inflict upon himself that weight for the rest of his career!

John's story reminded me of Napoleon Hill’s story in Think and Grow Rich, of the burning ships. A story about a great warrior that was about to send his army against a powerful enemy, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing the men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores unless we win! We now have no choice. We win, or we perish!”

They Won.

It's a great reminder that in order to succeed in whatever it is we desire, we have to learn to burn our own ships.


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