Mark Twain is quoted as saying ‘There are 3 kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics!’
I thought about that quote a lot lately as I’m reading a book called ‘Thinking – Fast and Slow.’ In one section, the author Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, goes into detail about the statistics around business failure, the fact that most people overestimate their abilities, and their chances for success.
He quotes grim statistics about business success: about half of businesses fail within five years. And yet, when you ask anyone starting a business if they believe that they’ll fail, of course they say no! Kahneman claims that this is the result of faulty thinking, and that people are overly optimistic about their own abilities. (He also points out that, perhaps not surprisingly, optimistic people tend to have higher success rates.)
If everyone looked at statistics, no one would start a business. Of course, no one would get married, either – the divorce rate is about 50%. And let’s not even talk about the failure rate of diets. Kahneman concludes that the rational, logical thing would be to never start a business. Thank goodness we’re not all acting rationally!
One of the things that statistics don’t account for is the extraordinary. Statistics don’t take into account transformation, because transformation is not part of the lives of most people, and it’s not statistically predictable. But for those of us who live and work in the world of transformation, we’re used to extraordinary results.
Extraordinary results don’t just happen though, they are created. If you want to buck the odds, you need a few things:
1) Preparation – make sure that the business you’re creating is needed, wanted, and you’ve done your homework about your market and your offering.
2) Support and training – do you have the knowledge and tools to run a business, which is different from just doing something you love?
3) Hard work – are you willing to work harder than you thought you’d have to in order to create success?
4) Resilience – You must be willing to fail repeatedly on the path to success.
When you do these things, chances are that statistics just won’t apply to you. So, as a transformational entrepreneur, I invite you to ignore the statistics, as long as you’re willing to do what it takes. What are you doing in your business to create extraordinary results?