Everyone goes through The Struggle

Ben Horowitz’s latest blog post, on The Struggle, is a gem. It’s a healthier, stronger take than some things I’ve read recently that say “being a CEO is awful”, and a more mature, realistic take than “being a CEO is tons of fun”.

The most important point is that everyone goes through The Struggle—even those who win. You don’t win by somehow avoiding the struggle. You win by getting through it.

Thus, my favorite part was this: “If you want to be great, this is the challenge. If you don’t want to be great, then you never should have started a company.”

What I love most about the Valley is that it’s full of people who want to be great. People who know that the average startup fails and are going to do it anyway.

Some of them do it because they think it will be easy for them. They learn. When they learn, some of them quit. After all, when you’re going through The Struggle, it is perfectly reasonable to quit.

Maybe this is why investors like to back serial entrepreneurs, even one whose first company was a failure. They know how hard it’s going to be, and they’re doing it anyway. Again. They aren’t doing it out of a delusion that it will be easy. They’re doing it because they want the goal so much that they’re willing to go through the struggle again. That’s probably the best indicator that they might get through it.


  1. IMfrederick says:

    Many people will say that children are our future. When possible, I correct them. Entrepreneurs are our future. I have just finished my first draft on a novel where entrepreneurs are the protagonists. I am hoping to get it published (of course) and to follow it up with more adventures of them dealing with their real-life enemies….the government bureaucrats.

  2. […] Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged, in a passage that could inspire any entrepreneur in his darkest days: Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent […]

  3. […] and passion for long-term goals”. Like Livingston, Duckworth says that you need both parts: perseverance in the face of setbacks, and the passion to focus intently on one big goal over the long […]

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