“I Didn’t Quit.”

I ran across this great blog entry today called “What’s The Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology”. I don’t expect to ever, ever, ever be a CEO, but I think a lot of the lessons that Ben Horowitz talks about apply to just about any leadership position you might ever find yourself in, from team lead to Little League Coach. Thing like needing to learn to handle stress, needing to take the responsibility seriously but not too seriously, needing to cope with loneliness, etc. But the thing that caught my eye was the end of the entry:

Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: “I didn’t quit.”

In my experience, this one phrase—“I didn’t quit.”—is the dividing line between success and failure. A few of the successes that I’ve had in my life (such as they are) can be attributed to dumb luck or raw talent. But most, and certainly the most satisfying ones, were primarily attributable to the fact that I didn’t give up even though I often might have wanted to.

The hard part is that it’s often impossible to know whether you’re on the right path or not. Sure things may turn out to be dead ends. Things that people say cannot be done may turn out to be golden opportunities. The best thing you can do is be clear on what’s important to you, follow your gut, and… don’t quit.

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2 thoughts on ““I Didn’t Quit.”

  1. piers7

    Statistical fallacy. You have excluded from the set in consideration all those that didn’t quit, but didn’t become successful (and, as a result, we have never heard of them).

    1. Lisa Morgan

      The principal still applies, even with the statistical fallacy, as the number of successful CEOs who DID quit is zero. The percentage of great CEOs who didn’t quit is 100%. It might not ensure success, but the opposite DOES ensure failure. Or to put it in code:

      If (Quit)
      If (!Quit)
      If (Succeed)

      Got it?


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