At what point should someone give up on an idea? When a group of alleged experts reject it? After the umpteenth pivot to find a market fit? A compelling prediction of poor growth in a sales forecast? If we don’t heed the advice of the experts, then what signal are we waiting for?
None of these questions have a one-size-fits-everyone answer, not when we throw in perseverance, dedication, and self belief.
Imagine rejecting The Beatles — Pye, Columbia, HMV, and Decca Records did, citing: “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.”
Consider retail billionaire Mike Ashley of Sports Direct, who bought Newcastle United Football Club believing his knowledge and experience in retail would transfer to the world of sport — but that didn’t happen for Mike, and his endless tinkering didn’t help his cause.
I know from personal experience how experts in a field are sometimes incapable of seeing that their knowledge and experience is a square peg that won’t fit the round hole of a product or service they don’t understand — but they too persevere with their own self belief.
People talk of failing fast, but don’t speak of failing hard — to fail so hard, with no team to support them, or investors to bail them out, that it looks a lot like the end. When something so bad happens, it’s self belief that lifts the spirit, not a sales forecast or an expert opinion.
A belief shouldn’t be shaken by mere words alone. That said, at some point, a belief must submit and succumb to facts and evidence. A paradox, then.
But opinion is not a requirement of belief no more than belief is a requirement of a statement of fact, and that’s what makes beliefs such amazing, flawed, powerful, dangerous, and fragile things.