“Life is too short” was the last comment from my CEO when we folded our entrepreneurial venture in 2008. Even though our original idea didn’t work out, we still had money in the bank and there were few options on the table but we decided to shut shop. Money alone didn’t justify investing our efforts and energies into a new idea. Why? Because life is too short!
The more smart people I meet the more often I hear this phrase. The idea is simple – time is a limited commodity! For smart people, the game is to use this scarce resource most optimally. A highly successful professional, who was recently promoted to a CEO position, once told me that he has maybe 20 years of working life left. If it takes 6-7 years to build a successful company, then at best he has three attempts to make it big. I was amazed by his thinking process and realized it was another way of saying–life is too short!
I have come across many life-changing philosophies in the past, but nothing as profound as this one. A realization that it doesn’t matter what I do, time will eventually run out on me, has tremendously influenced my attitude towards life. I spent seven years in a job and loved it. People were great and I was doing well. I realized that I wanted to grow in a different direction but couldn’t break the web of comfort, title, stock options and an established base. However, a realization that time is running out cleared the cobwebs around my thinking and I found a perfect opportunity aligned with my goals. Not only am I happy now but also believe that I am using my time optimally growing in the right direction.
The idea is not to break away from your current commitments but not to wait to follow your passion. Now that I look back, we made the best decision to shut shop and return the money in 2008. They say the best outcome for a startup is success, the second best is quick death, and the worst is an ongoing flat startup that sucks all the energy out of an entrepreneur. I am glad we came out of it in time to pursue bigger and better opportunities. So what are you waiting for? Follow your passions because life is too short!