Sins of our fathers

I often tell tales of how my father found every possible way to fail in businesses where everyone else would make a fortune. He sold three properties on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg to buy in Far Rockaway (in the 80s), talked his way into a nationwide exclusive forklift dealership then never sold any forklifts, rejected the rights to the entire NYC metro area to sell the first cell phones to focus on his route of pay phones…

Over and over again he swapped the golden goose for the wild goose chase. Growing up I would snidely regale my friends with stories of his nearly comical misfortune. After flaming out in half a dozen businesses myself despite an excellent albeit unfinished education, endless personal development and libraries of businesses books I finally see the hubris and arrogance that has destroyed my ventures time and time again.

Knowledge is not power, knowledge is crap that you put on a blog after you’ve failed to apply it in real life. My personal pattern of failure generally begins with lighting myself on fire with enthusiasm. I genuinely feel it too, the same way a degenerate gambler feels rejuvenated when he has a fresh stack of money. This time it’s going to be different. I’ve finally figured it out, this business has learned from the mistakes of countless other failures and will generate consistent powerful returns with a limited downside. I can’t promise you that it will be the next Facebook, but you can only lose what you put in and the upside is uncapped.

As your skepticism recedes ever so slightly and you lean in just a little closer I continue stacking the benefits of this new venture. I’ll share with you my failures and admit my limited ability. I’ll make a joke and you will laugh then I will show you the numbers and you will pretend to understand. There’s risk, if there wasn’t I would be lying to you, but you and I are going to take this risk together. At the very least we will be looking out for each other and that’s a lot better than you’ll get anywhere else you park your money.

This unflinching blend of authenticity and transparency will light you up from within and you will feel the light of hope grow. It will become friendship, kinship and before long you will be an evangelist of the cause and carry the banner of our new business with pride and we will charge forth into the unforgiving market and we will make money, lots of it until we don’t. Then the money doesn’t stop right away. The light goes out first. Then the darkness seeps through your veins and your old ways reinfect your being and the armor cracks and ultimately fails.

Once again you will find yourself lost and alone in the desert wandering and lamenting. Dragging one foot in front of the other you will begin to be grateful just to be alive and take deep breaths of fresh air and look up at the blue sky. You will fortify yourself with the silence and your steps will become strides. As you move towards the oasis in the distance the failure fades into a memory, at least it will make a good story some day. Now with confidence powering your steps you move ever more confidently in the direction of your dreams. This time it’s going to be different.

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