The Wisdom of Experience in Running Ones Own Business…must surely be in the mistakes

I recall what a friend shared with me from his successful uncle’s advice:

“You are not wasting your time learning from your or others’ mistakes. It is a small investment in time to prevent the really big ones you may make later in life…”

On occasion, when i am invited to speak, I consider it an honor when asked to share my experiences. Sharing my mistakes is not a slight on my ego, because someone else is going to benefit from those few minutes by saving hours or days agonizing over a solution to their predicament one day. You could say that this is a “Pay It Forward” policy entrenched in my life on a daily basis, and one I hope will also rub off on my kids. There is nothing as uplifting as someone coming up to you and saying they had learnt a lot from your father, and if there was anything they could do to assist, to just call them…anytime!

Last night, I was seated next to a bright 19 year old exchange student who flew in from Hong Kong. A UK citizen of Indian ethnic origin, he began to describe how he and his brother were sent to school in HK. Before I could guess why, he explained that his father, who runs one of the bigger textile factories in New Delhi, wanted both of them to speak Mandarin and be familiar with Chinese culture.

[ Deja Vu kicked in… wasn’t that the very same idea Lee Kuan Yew executed to ensure Singaporean kids study the Chinese language as a compulsory examinable subject?]. ┬áCan you imagine Chinese-speaking Indian entrepreneurs bridging business between the 2 biggest economic forces of the century?

He asked me for advice on how he should decide on a career which deviated from his father’s hope of getting him to run the family business. I gave him this:


“I know this may sound unreasonable: abandon all the ideas for a start. Shortlist 3 really great ideas and research them thoroughly…you have to do this. Draft 3 business plans. Go back to them weekly, refining them once in awhile. This may take a few weeks. Astonishingly, you will soon get committed to one GREAT idea after a few months have passed! That’s because there are so many ideas floating around, that your mind has to get past the noise, and slow cook that really great ONE… the one you will look at the mirror one morning and say ‘I love this, it’s me’. Only then, will your heart know. The next stage: Find a way to link that with your family business, because generations have invested their lives to make it successful. It is never about who does it first, because first mover advantage has a downside…no mistakes have been made yet. Trust me, there are lessons in every startup. The winner is the one business idea that has been well-thought out and even better executed thoughtfully…”

I know you will make it, my friend! Change the world with other people’s mistakes!

Make your dream the one your family will love you for.

About felix lee

a change agent and philosopher, I have been in corporate business for about 28 years chiefly in marketing, events, PR and IT. this is a small way of sharing wisdoms in starting and re-inventing your business and running it holistically like you do with your life. i am learning to write ebooks and welcome tips from anyone who is happy to share them. please drop me a line anytime. Kindly forgive the messy housekeeping...
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