The Truth Behind Ambition (Part 3): Life Jackets


This is the second part of Vasily Koledov’s The Truth Behind Ambition – a no holds barred, in-depth three-part autobiographical series sharing guidance, lessons and tales from the other side of entrepreneurial success. To read the first part, click here, and the second, click here.

I often browse the self-help section at bookstores in the hope of finding some new morsel of wisdom. Often I come across writers who seem to preach a good game but when you read about who they are, you know they never truly went through the hard times they are writing about. The words they write are clearly not written from their own experience. As I found myself living the ups and downs described in part one and two, I realised that our brain has the wonderful function of self-rationalization, and the tougher the situation you find yourself in, the better your brain learns to understand and deal with that situation. Here, I wanted to present a list of 10 things that I took away from my experience and that have helped me towards developing a wider philosophy towards tackling the challenges that life throws at us:

1) Business is hard work and is almost always a struggle. When you start you are by the inherent nature of the undertaking very naïve as a person. And you have to be. Realising the full scale of difficulty and risk involved in setting up a business is so scary, no rational person would do it! Once you begin, you realise that you actually know nothing, that your business plan cannot survive the 1st customer and that the competitor you were laughing at initially actually has 3x your experience and can outwit you at pretty much every turn of the competition. However, once you went through the motions of doing your 1st business you have also gained a lot of experience. This experience is invaluable and means the second time around you will achieve something, even if it failed the 1st time, its’ always 5x quicker the 2nd time.

2) Anyone can find themselves in a negative mindset. Make sure you have people you can reach out to and talk with. Don’t be scared of just saying “fuckit” and disconnecting completely for a few days. Grab some friends. Have some fun. Leave the country even if you max out your credit card. Anything is better than lying under the train with your guts splattered across the train tracks and your eyeball stuck on the windshield…

3) Because of 1 and 2, fixing the problem is usually much easier than it seems. I don’t know how close I was to jumping or whether I would have actually done it but I do know that one message from one friend in 2 hours had the ability to turn my entire frame of thinking around. It took me 1 day to go through all the process streams and work out solutions and 2 weeks to implement (additional comments on that: get more positive friends and don’t ignore all of them all the time if they write to you, regardless how low you feel).

4) No one can help you but you and no one will build your dream for you – they would much rather pay you to build theirs. The only person who can help you is you. Take responsibility for yourself, for your business and others around you. Learn to love yourself.

I think it was Churchill who said “when you are going through hell – keep going“.

It really is tough out there. Problems arise all the time. Use some basic NLP – they are not “problems”, they are “challenges” that can be solved. Learn to deal with them in the most emotionally intelligent way. Never give up as (see #4) – your business is your responsibility

6) You are the result of billions of years of evolution. You are bright as a supernova and sharp as a samurai sword. You are unbeatable. Unstoppable. By being born you have won a once in a quadrillion genetic lottery of entering the world as an advanced representative of the most advanced species in the observable universe. Perhaps this was there for a reason and there is a larger goal to your existence? You owe it to yourself and to your ancestors to take this life by the horns and make something out of it. And the harder it is the more you learn and the more rewarding success is at the end.

7) Never be jealous. Yes, sure Zuckerberg is about your age and worth $30 billion. Yes, I know your friend in Abu Dhabi is zooming around on a Lamborghini with a Russian supermodel. Wow, is that a customised paintjob on his car?? But think about the luck, dedication and intelligence required to build Facebook – is it not an amazing feat that it happened and is it not right Zuck and others who were involved get compensated? Do you think the father of your friend in Abu Dhabi, who bought him the car, will let him marry, and even if he does, will she really loves him when the money runs out or he himself goes through trials that may one day leave him standing in front of the railway tracks? Billions of opportunities are at your grasp every day. Many are magnitude of times grander in reach and monetary gains than Facebook, or Tesla or Exxon and all of them are available to you. Right now.

8) Whatever it is you want to do you can do it – good or bad – and free choice in these difficult minutes is the only freedom we really have. Read 1 – 7 and make the right fucking choice. And if that voice ever come to your ear and tells you to jump, you tell him to fuck off!

P.S. one final point – and possibly the hardest to execute: quit drinking …. Just do it. At a time of emotional turbulence the last thing you need to do is to consume emotional lubricant. Also, the free will you show to yourself in making this decision will resonate positively on other important and difficult decisions with less volatility.

P.P.S. Quit smoking too – it makes you tired and also gives you mood spikes. Controlling this addiction is also good for the same reason as drinking. Cigars to celebrate success can be a good exception.

P.P.P.S Quit all other addictions. 


About Author

Vasily Koledov

Vasily is the Science and Innovation Editor at BRIC, and will also be blogging about business and entrepreneurship "Born in Russia, I grew up in Britain and started my first business at 16. I spent some time in investment banking before leaving to start an online business. Now, I'm one of the Founding Partners at a venture capital fund in London in addition to my work for BRIC. I'm interested in pretty much everything apart from sport – in particular, I enjoy both creative arts and numerical sciences. Keen painter and musician and interested in advancement of humanity through scientific progress.“

Leave A Reply

This page is geo-coded