They say —“Life is all about taking risks.
Take a risk.
Follow your dreams, Quit your job.”
We had always heard about- How highly risk-takers are successful? How they quit their job just to pursue their dreams?
We idolize icons like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for having the audacity to drop out of school and go for broke, holing in the garage to will their technological visions into existence.
We often hear others say that “I hate my job, I can’t wait to get out of it to follow my passion”, referring to quitting their jobs and eventually being their own boss. But before you quit, consider –Why you want to quit your job? And your answer might be -because I hate it and I want to follow my passion and live my life with purpose, and my job is not allowing me to do so.
Take a minute and think deeply about it — “Does your job really holding you back from pursuing your dreams? Do you have to quit your job, to follow your passion? Do you really have to quit your job, to live your purposefully”?
Also Read: 5 Wonderful Work Life Balance Tips
This is a big misconception that to build a sustainable business or pursue your passion, you need to spend an inordinate amount of time to get there. While it’s true that a lot of effort needs to be delivered, what matters the most is consistent effort over time. Most people undervalue this concept of compound interest.
Consistently improving yourself by 1% every day for a year has double the impact as improving by 10% each day for a month.
Who said you can’t do pursue your dreams and follow your passions without quitting your job? Who said you can’t do both things at the same time? What’s holding you back from doing that? Actually, nothing is actually holding you back other than yourself, You’re your own creator and your own destroyer.
Let’s take an example of a successful company Warby Parker — Warby Parker was founded in 2010, by four friends, Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andy Hunt, and Jeff Raider, who happened to be in business school. Even the idea began to take shape and the business model was born, it still wasn’t clear what would come of the idea. As Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker’s future co-CEO, put it: “Warby Parker wasn’t the basket that I wanted to put all my eggs into.” And Neil Blumenthal, the other future co-CEO, felt the same.
After incubating the idea for a year and a half, the idea finally hatched. The launch was so successful that the team hit their first-year sales targets in less than a month.
Source — Forbes
We think that entrepreneurs or successful people are all “risk-takers” and that you need to go “all in” to be successful. This belief is embedded so deeply in our cultural psyche that we rarely even stop to think about it. But this conception proves false in Adam Grant’s book Originals; that entrepreneurs do not necessarily are risk-takers, but instead better at evaluating risk and hedging their bets.
Adam Grant mentioned in his book that he once asked Neil(one of the founders of the Warby Parker) that — “If they truly believed in Warby Parker, they should had drop out to focus every waking hour to make it happen?”
He responded — “We want to hedge our bets, we’re not sure if it’s good ides and we have no clue whether it will succeed, so we’ve been working on it our spare time during the school year.Jeff got a grant to focus on business full time for the summer, rest 3 of us had got the internships. I was in consulting, Andy was in venture, and Dave was in health care. We’ve hedged our bets. Just in case things don’t work out, I’ve accepted a full-time job after graduation. So has Jeff. And to make sure he would have options, Dave did two different internships over the summer, and he’s talking with his former employer about rejoining”
Grant then stated that- They didn’t have enough skin in the game. In my mind, they were destined to fail because they played it safe instead of betting the farm. But in fact, this is exactly why they succeeded.
Source — Orginals, Adam Grant
This is a myth that success and originality require extreme risk-taking. The people who move the world forward with original ideas are rarely paragons of conviction and commitment. As they question traditions and challenge the status quo, they may appear bold and self-assured on the surface. But when you peel back the layers, the truth is that they, too, grapple with fear, ambivalence, and self-doubt. We view them as self-starters, but their efforts are often fueled and sometimes forced by others. And as much as they seem to crave risk, they really prefer to avoid it.
There is a fascinating study conducted by Joseph Raffiee and Jie Feng, in which they asked a simple question: When people start a business, are they better off keeping or quitting their day jobs?
The study showed that entrepreneurs who had kept their jobs had 33% lower odds of failure than those who quit. In other words, you’re not just better off keeping your day job — you’re way better off keeping it.
According to Adam Grant, “Quitting your full-time job to start a company is like proposing marriage on the first date … The most durable businesses are typically started by people who play it safe.”
The main question arises here: But don’t day jobs distract us from doing our best work? Common sense suggests that creative accomplishments can’t flourish without big windows of time and energy, and companies can’t thrive without intensive effort. Having a sense of security in one realm gives us the freedom to be original in another. By covering our bases financially, we escape the pressure to publish half-baked books, sell shoddy art, or launch untested businesses.
Here are few such examples:-
- After inventing the original Apple I the computer, Steve Wozniak started the company with Steve Jobs in 1976 but continued working full time in his engineering job at Hewlett-Packard until 1977.
- When Bill Gates sold a new software program as a sophomore, he waited an entire year before leaving Harvard. From the start, their number-one priority was reducing risk.
- Markus Persson was a programmer who built video games on the side. He first put up Minecraft, unfinished, on a gaming portal. He kept his day job for a full year before committing to Minecraft full-time, eventually selling it to Microsoft for $2.5billion (£1.7bn).
- When Pierre Omidyar built eBay, it was just a hobby; he kept working as a programmer for the next nine months, only leaving after his online marketplace was netting him more money than his job.
“The best entrepreneurs are not risk maxi-mizers, they take the risk out of risk-taking” — Linda Rottenberg
Successful originals take extreme risks in one arena and offset them with extreme caution in another.
The founders who kept their day jobs and dipped a toe into entrepreneurial waters were more risk-averse, less self-confident, and less committed than their peers who dove in headfirst. According to conventional wisdom, their businesses survived despite those traits. But in reality, they succeeded because of their hesitation. Being risk-averse led them to look carefully before leaping in. Self-doubt led them to question their ideas. And wavering commitment motivated them to seek honest feedback about which ideas were really worth pursuing.
We all have multiple passions and dreams. And life is too short not to pursue them. But there’s no need to cut from one scene to another immediately. People may think it’s cool to be a risk-taker, but it’s much cooler to come out the other side successful.
So, next time you have a big idea, don’t go in all guns blazing. Start it as a hobby and see if it takes off.
James Clear in his book Atomic Habits has mentioned the concept of 1% improvement every day — “If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty‐seven times better by the time you’re done”. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.
If you’re currently working full-time, don’t put yourself into a box and wait for a perfect opportunity to come to you. Instead, create one, work towards your ideas, start working even if it’s only half an hour a day, keep going. Keep working until you’re in a place where it makes sense to make it full-time.
Remember —”The main thing that stops you from living the life of your dreams are the stories you tell yourself of why you can’t”
Author: Nishi – Student. Writer. Reader. Dreamer & Achiever