I do not understand women.
They are complicated, complex, highly intelligent and clever sentient beings that never seem to follow the laws of nature, all of which makes it incredibly difficult for even moderately uncomplicated guys like me to even communicate with them.
Just ask my wife.
Related: Why People Don't Follow Their Dreams
In my younger years, my good friends and I developed a set of dating rules -- more guidelines, I suppose -- that were meant to help us navigate the seemingly chaotic and diverse landscape that is women. We would exchange strategies (more along the lines of failures), ask probing questions of our female cohorts, and read everything related to the subject matter we could legally find.
My goal, of course, was to be prepared, with comprehensive “rules of engagement,” so that I would be ready when the opportunity was right.
For almost as long, I took the same approach toward entrepreneurship. I spent the better part of my young career studying business and often taking lower paying jobs for the experience. When it was clear I needed accounting and finance experience, I quit a lucrative job during an economic boom to pursue my MBA.
My goal was to know everything about business so that I would be prepared when the entrepreneurial opportunity was right. The problem was that I never felt I was completely prepared for the challenge.
One year, while pursing my MBA, I had the fortunate opportunity to hear Warren Buffett speak. He retold a story of a young colleague who was spending a good deal of time and energy trying to gain experience so he could run a business someday. Taken aback, Buffett went on to advise the young associate to approach entrepreneurship as you would dating and women.
Why would you spend all that time and energy reading about and researching how to understand a woman? Just so you can have a perfect kiss? That is is nonsense -- just kiss her. In the end:
- You will stumble awkwardly and terribly the first time you try anyway, and probably for a few times thereafter, but just imagine how much fun you will have trying.
- You will discover that the actual experience is completely different than anything you will read or have been told.
- You will discover a number of things, such as “chemistry,” that you would never learn unless you actively engaged in the activity.
His message was clear: There is no better substitute for experience than experience.
It was not long after graduating, encouraged by that story, that I finally decided to take the leap and start my first company, Wild Creations. True to form, nothing about the entrepreneurial experience was like what I had studied or heard. In the end, my only regret was not trying it sooner (and more often).
Not coincidently, I eventually met the love of my life applying that same idea.
Have you been long contemplating entrepreneurship, a major career change, or even starting a hobby you love, but continue to put it off because you did not feel that you had the experience, network, or skills to do so? Take it from Buffett and me -- stop preparing for it and just kiss the girl!
Do you have a similar experience? Please share it in the comments section below.