In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about “Should Have Done This Earlier”.
Business comes with lots of challenges. Sometimes we figure out the solution to a challenge and, depending on how you look at it, might feel relieved about figuring it out or frustration about not doing so sooner.
In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things, the benefits of having a positive outlook on things why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:00 About the topic of today’s episode
00:31 Why this topic was chosen.
01:07 Why Hiten tweeted about today topic.
02:32 How there are different ways to look at a lightbulb moment.
03:52 How what you focus on changes how you look at different situations.
04:56 Why how you feel whenever you figure out something challenging doesn’t matter.
05:15 Why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things.
06:54 Why you shouldn’t set conditions for yourself.
07:00 The benefits of having a positive outlook on things.
09:53 Why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer.
3 Key Points:
- If you feel that you were dumber a year ago, you’re growing.
- Not every day is going to be the same.
- What you focus on a situation, changes how you look at it.
Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.
Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we’re going to talk about, this is another tweet episode. This is a new tradition we have, where Steli Efti reads Hiten’s tweets and once in a while thinks, ha, this is both very wise and kind of curious, and there’s something here that we should probably unpack for the audience on the Startup Chat. So I’m going to read the tweet that you posted recently Hiten, and then I’m going to ask you what prompted it, and we’ll just see what unfolds.
Hiten Shah: Sounds good.
Steli Efti: So here’s the tweet. “Should have done this earlier. I should have done this earlier. A statement full of frustration and relief at the same time.” All right. So what made you tweet this?
Hiten Shah: Yeah, it’s one of those things that’s related to another thing that I really kind of have funny feelings about. And that thing is this idea that if you felt like you were dumber a year ago, you know you’re growing. Or you felt dumb for some opinion you had, or thought you had or think you did a year ago or whatever, you’re growing. So it’s very similar to that where it’s like, sometimes you just have those moments and this is very, it’s personal life and work and business, but you have those moments where you’re like, “Oh, should have done this earlier.” And sometimes it’s just an idea that you have, and you’re like, “Crap, that’s just the one.” Or for like, let’s say, a marketing channel or something like that, that you just didn’t think of then all of a sudden you did, just to give a very simple example. Or it’s something that you just did and you’re like, “Oh, I should have done that earlier.” So it’s kind of like this feeling that I get sometimes. And I’m frustrated because I wish I would’ve figured it out earlier, but I’m also very relieved because I figured it out. I finally figured it out. I got it. All right, cool. So it was one of those moments where I felt that and felt like I had to share just to release it and get over myself. So that was it. It was just that.
Steli Efti: You know, what’s funny is that, I should have done this earlier, there’s many flavors of this, right?
Hiten Shah: Yeah.
Steli Efti: And there is one that is more regretful…
Hiten Shah: Yes.
Steli Efti: … And then there is a version of this that’s just more relieved. Like I should’ve done this earlier, but the underlying energy is, I’m happy I’ve done it now, right? I’m happy…
Hiten Shah: Yes.
Steli Efti: Like this is the Chinese proverb of, “20 years ago was the best time to plant a tree, the second best time is today,” or something like that. It’s like, I didn’t get it done, but thank God I got it done now. Right? But then there’s also the, I didn’t get it done then. Yeah, I got it now, but why didn’t I get it done then? I think that the difference between the two is that one is focused on the past versus the other one is focused on the present.
Hiten Shah: Definitely.
Steli Efti: And if you highlight away the past higher, then there’s more regret there. Why didn’t I do this earlier? Fuck! Versus if you highlight the present, you’re like, should’ve done this, earlier, but phew, thank God I’ve done it now. So thank God now it’s done, because I know it could very easily been another X amount of time before I would have done it, right?
Hiten Shah: Yeah.
Steli Efti: So I’m thankful and grateful that now it’s done. And so it’s interesting. It’s the same statement, could be the same situation, but the thing you focus on changes the way you feel about it, and then completely changes the energy around it. It’s sad in a way, because oftentimes, I think we all have, especially as founders, a lot of, we should have done this earlier moments, right? When you do something that now really clicks or works and it’s not the first time you thought of it, it’s not the first time it came up and you’re like, “Ah, if we’d only done it a bit earlier.” But the thing you focus on really changes that moment from a celebration to almost like it almost doesn’t matter. You’re like, we’ve done this so late, it’s so terrible. It doesn’t almost matter that we’ve got it done. And there’s just no joy in it. You get zero benefits from having it done.
Hiten Shah: Yeah.
Steli Efti: You’re just so bummed out you didn’t do this earlier that you’re like, “Ah, yeah we got it done, but who cares? We should have done it earlier.” And now on a pure materialistic point of view, it doesn’t matter, it was done. How you feel about it shouldn’t have-
Hiten Shah: It got done. Yeah.
Steli Efti: It got done, so how you feel about it doesn’t matter, but it matters a shit ton because the way you feel now will determine what you’ll do next, right?
Hiten Shah: That’s right. That’s right.
Steli Efti: And if you’re totally bummed out, frustrated and remorseful, or heartbroken about something, chances are you’re not going to get a lot of things done next, right? Chances are you’re not going to feel any energy to do more. You’re just going to feel like, “What’s the fucking point? Yeah, I got this done, but I should…
Hiten Shah: Totally right.
Steli Efti: … Have done this a year ago. What is the point of even going on when we’re this late?” And now I guarantee that with that energy, the next thing you do is probably not much, you’re not going to do anything versus the other. In the other scenario, you get it done. It’s as late, you’ve missed out as much, but you’re now excited. You celebrate it, the moment, and you’re like, “What else can I get done that I should’ve done? What is the other thing we should do, that has been a good idea a year ago?” You are energized. And so the way you feel doesn’t matter for the thing you’ve just got done, but it matters a tremendous amount for what you’re going to do next.
Hiten Shah: Yeah. Absolutely.
Steli Efti: Does it matter for you? I’m curious, is it a general attitude thing? Do you find yourself mostly being, like when I got something done that I should have done earlier, kind of relieved and happy about it in the moment and kind of gives me the boost to keep going? Or is it, does it depend on what it is similarly? It’s a big thing, if it’s a small thing.
Hiten Shah: [crosstalk] I’m trying to make it so it doesn’t. I’m trying to make it…
Steli Efti: Nice.
Hiten Shah: … So it doesn’t…
Steli Efti: Nice.
Hiten Shah: … Depend on it, right?
Steli Efti: Yeah, yeah.
Hiten Shah: Like really? It doesn’t really matter, because like I’m trying to make it so it doesn’t matter. Because I don’t know. We haven’t really talked about this specifically, but we set conditions for ourselves and that’s a condition that you’re setting on yourself and you’re kind of setting yourself up for failure, in my opinion, if you start getting negative with yourself about these types of things. And it’s easy to do for a lot of us. And so I’d rather have a much more optimistic, positive outlook. And obviously, you can assume that I’ll analyze the thing, not to death, but enough to know where I can do better. At least my perception of where I can do better, even if it’s not like totally reality. But yeah, I try my best, not to have an attitude where I get down on myself, because I think, especially as you’re working on some of your own things, like it’s a typical thing, not every day is going to be the same and some days are going to be really bad. And sometimes the world is just bad, like right now, that is the word, the world is bad. It’s subjectively that. I don’t think very many people can say, it’s good. I wouldn’t imagine anybody doing that. I’m sure there are people, but that’s not my people. But anyway, most people would consider what’s going on right now bad. And it’s easy to get caught up in that and lose sight of anything good. And yeah, I think this is a constant feeling. The more you get used to trying to do new things and create things from very little, which is the definition of a startup. I would say it’s almost the definition of business at this point, you’re going to have all kinds of feelings come up. You’re going to have all kinds of things come up where you’re like, “Crap. I wish I knew that. I wish I had talked to that person. I wish I would have learned that. I wish we would have done that earlier.” And the moment I had was simply like, there’s something that just wasn’t done right. And I did a good job communicating it to the people involved in a way where I was very thoughtful about making sure that nobody took it personally, because it really wasn’t personal. But something just wasn’t done right by us as a team, as a company. And it wasn’t like a massive failure, just the execution thing. It wasn’t like it didn’t hurt anyone, it hasn’t been published or shipped or whatever yet, but I just didn’t feel good about it. And I expressed it. And then 24 hours later, I had a better plan. And that’s actually what this tweet was about. I just had a better plan all of a sudden and I was like, “Oh, I feel a lot of relief and I feel a little frustrated, maybe a lot frustrated about just not figuring it out earlier.” It’s just this feeling that you could have just figured it out earlier and imagine what could happen. But at the same time, the journey is a journey, right? And that there’s no real way to hack the journey or make the journey happen faster, or building something or getting where you want to get to. And so that’s really where it came from, for me, was just something that we, as a team did pretty poorly, in my opinion, and should be doing better. But then that completely was a transformative thing for me this time, where I have a plan now. And the plan is almost 100 times better than how we had been approaching a bunch of things.
Steli Efti: Love it. I love it. All right. So I think we are all going through these moments, and I think working on the one little thing that can make all the difference, which is our attitude towards ourselves…
Hiten Shah: Yes.
Steli Efti: … And what we do and how we do things…
Hiten Shah: Absolutely.
Steli Efti: … Working on that can be a game changer on how much energy you create within your days for your victories and your failures, or how much energy you cost yourself and eventually, how will you be able to get done, because you’re just beating up on yourself all day long. So I love that. I love the, “Ha should’ve done this earlier.” Like I love that tonality around this, “Ha, could have been better, but I’ve done it now. This is good.”
Hiten Shah: Yeah.
Steli Efti: It’s doing-
Hiten Shah: That’s why we use the word should too. It’s definitely yeah. Great purpose. Well, it totally right.
Steli Efti: All right. Well, this is it for us for this episode. We wish you nothing, but the best. Stay safe. Stay sane. We’ll hear you very soon.
Hiten Shah: Yeah.