It’s great to be transparent about what Ben Horowitz calls, “the struggle”. I have struggled a lot in my life on different things. I am struggling right now. Struggles take on different characteristics, and you react to them differently. My whole life I have faced different struggles. When I was a kid, it was in athletics. Trying to get better, trying to win. In school it was with studies. When I traded, I would have hot streaks when it seemed like you could do no wrong, and cold streaks when everything you touched turned to shit.
Struggles affect people differently. There are no two struggles that are alike since they are so personal. But, there are common threads. For example, in drug/alcohol rehab, there are principles that people follow to help them with the struggle of overcoming addiction.
In startups, I don’t think it’s any different. What things do people do to overcome the struggle? Are there best practices? Even extremely talented people struggle. Icons Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were still human.
One that has worked for a lot of people is to start eating right and getting exercise every day. It helps physically and mentally. Ironically, when you struggle that is the last thing you want to do. Another thing you might do is tune out everything else, and focus on just doing one thing really really well. Very hard to do that in this hyperconnected environment. You also want to make sure that focus doesn’t turn into obsession.
This thought occurred to me last night as I was watching the Cubs. Instead of the different batter theme music pieces they play, I think they should play a waltz. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Clearly, the Cubs are struggling at the plate. Prior to the playoffs, Manager Joe Maddon got the team together and tried to prepare them mentally for the struggle to come. He was clear that something would happen that would be very hard to overcome. More than just 108 years of history and a Billy Goat curse. It will be interesting to see how he manages the team mentally now to help them.