Perception can make you or break you

29 May 2020    2 mins read.

* This is an email I sent to my organization during a COVID19 outbreak. I thought it would also be useful to share with others.

I’m rereading a fantastic book this weekend, “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. Ryan distills the centuries-old stoic philosophy by juxtaposing it with certain people and events in the last two centuries. Few passages, in the beginning, caught my eye, and I wanted to share some thoughts with the team.

The first chapter focuses on Rockefeller. His ascent to success happened through some of the most trying economic times. His power was his ability to keep calm and see clearly and objectively, while others panicked. ”And it is precisely at this divergence — between how Rockefeller perceived his environment and how the rest of the world typically does — that his nearly incomprehensible success was born. … To perceive what others see as negative, as something to be approached rationally, clearly, and most importantly, as an opportunity — not as something to fear or bemoan.”

We can choose to go with the crowd, read analyst reports, watch the breaking news about economic collapse, bemoan our current situation, hunker down and hope for the best, or we can see the current events as a chance to move forward and make progress. ”Even if it’s on a bearing that we did not anticipate.”

“You will come across obstacles in life — fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what those obstacles are, but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming — or possibly thriving because of — them.”

Thriving is the keyword here. If you look back at the ascent of some of the most successful companies in history, you’ll notice a pattern. The inflection point of their growth was during the most trying economic times. It’s not that bad times are somehow necessary to succeed; instead, they provide the needed catalyst for change. You can no longer afford to be comfortable. It’s day one. Everything’s at risk.

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” — Warren Buffet

We have some great people and great products to move this company forward in these uncertain times. I’m super confident that we can adjust our bearings and make progress this summer!

I hope everyone’s enjoying family time this holiday weekend!