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Build a profitable business- the baby steps part 35

We have often thought about how different many successful entrepreneurs are compared to the ordinary guy. Many can come across as very intense when they want something. Most are willing to forsake shorter-term delights for longer-term joys. They can be extremely rational in certain situations, to the point of being weird. Sometimes they can be a bit singleminded, since they are focusing so much of their attention to their businesses at all times. Some people might call them nerds, and we guess that´s as good a description as any other we have heard. And it really doesn´t matter to them what they are called, since they are quite uninterested in what others think about them. They are quite happy to follow their own convictions, despite the fact that these may very well separate them from the safety of being part of the crowd. We confess. All of the above is probably 100 percent true of all of us. We are all a bit “different” from the majority of people. We think different about a great many things and our attitude is different. And we are definitely not afraid of trying things our way, despite what others may think or say.

Most of you are familiar with Murphy´s Law, which was coined in 1949 by an air force engineer at Edwards Air Force Base. In its most basic form the law states that:

If anything can go wrong, it will.

Apart from his famous law Murphy also had a philosophy and a constant. Murphy´s philosophy simply states:

Smile… tomorrow will be worse.

And Murphy´s constant states:

Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

The already cynical and pessimistic views of the world where later followed up by the O´Tooles commentary regarding Murphy´s Law:

Murphy was an optimist.

So we do we write about Murphy´s law and O´Tooles commentary on the law? Is it because we believe it to be the truth? Is there anything to learn from it? Well not really. We don´t believe in Murphy´s law although we jokingly refer to it at times. And we definitely don´t believe in O´Tooles commentary. As we have said before, problems do arise from time to time and disasters do happen. It is just the way life is. The trick is not to tell yourself that everything will be perfect all the time. The trick is to be able to stand firm when it hits the fan. Sometimes things turn out wrong. Shit happens. But as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, they can handle the setbacks, the failures and the problems. They have been around. They are somewhat immune to it all. They have developed a thick skin and an attitude to go along with that skin. So what kind of attitude are we talking about? Well, our experience is that almost all successful entrepreneurs we know, in fact most of the successful individuals we know regardless of endeavor, are to some degree sociopaths. We know this sounds harsh, but remember that being a sociopath is not only a negative thing. Besides there are different types of sociopaths as we shall soon see. There are good attributes accompanies with being a (particular kind of) sociopath as well. Our  point is not that all successful individuals are bad people. Rather what we are saying is that all successful people share some common beliefs that enable them to forsake some stuff and focus razor-sharp on other things in their quest to become masters of their trade. The world´s greatest swimmers, singers, CEO`s, musicians, chess players and entrepreneurs are all sociopaths to a certain extent. They have to be. If you look at the world in the same way as everybody else, you will experience the result of everybody else as well. Sociapaths do things differently, and to a large degree this is due to the fact that they see things differently than most individuals. And that´s where Peter´s Law comes in. Peter´s Law is also known as the Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive, and these laws sum up a lot of the beliefs that we feel most successful entrepreneurs (and individuals in general) have in common. These laws hang fittingly and proudly on a plaque in The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. We first encountered them in the form of a framed poster that one of our entrepreneur friends had in his office. Without further a due, here they are, Peter´s Laws:

  1. If anything can go wrong, Fix it! (To hell with Murphy!)
  2. When given a choice — Take both!
  3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.
  4. Start at the top and work your way up.
  5. Do it by the book…but be the author!
  6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
  7. If you can’t beat them, join them, and then beat them.
  8. If it’s worth doing, it’s got to be done right now.
  9. If you can’t win, change the rules.
  10. If you can’t change the rules, ignore them.
  11. When faced without a challenge, make one.
  12. “No” simply means begin again at the next highest level.
  13. Don’t walk when you can run.
  14. Bureaucracy is a challenge to the be conquered with a righteous attitude, an intolerance for stupidity, and bulldozer when necessary.
  15. When in doubt: THINK!
  16. Patience is a virtue but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
  17. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
  18. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

When we first laid eyes on these laws we had mixed feelings. We found them funny and scary at the same time. Funny because they very accurately described something we had already known for a long time, yet never seen summed up so elegantly before. Scary because these laws were an accurate description of ourselves and how we tended to look at business challenges and the life of the entrepreneur. It speaks volumes to us, and we are not sure if that´s a good thing or a bad thing. All we can say is that if you believe that most of these laws apply to you and your person, you are probably very successful at the moment, or you will be very successful in the future. You might be regarded as a bit crazy or “different” by your surroundings but that´s ok. It´s the price every successful person has to pay. You don´t break world records or become a billionaire by living an ordinary lifestyle. You must have the courage to follow your own dream. You must have the strength to choose the road less travelled. Only then will you be able to reach your goals.

Sociapaths are willing to go the extra mile. And that´s the true price of success in any field. It´s ok to be a sociopath. Just remember to be a good sociopath.

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