The long haul

Peru enters its 75th day of government mandated quarantine today. Unfortunately, despite the quick, strong action to enforce physical distancing, Peru continues to be deeply affected by the coronavirus.

I was recently reminded of the Stockdale Paradox, which highlights the benefits of balancing optimism with reality when faced with extreme challenges. James Stockdale was a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. He said the following:

This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

James Stockdale

Stockdale shared that the prisoners least likely to make it where the ones that hoped unrealistically for a liberation date that was out of their control. Once the day came an passed with no change, they “died of a broken heart.”

This lesson applies to how we confront the quarentine period and the end of the coronavirus crisis in Peru. It also applies to the startup journey.

Startup founders, especially those in emerging ecosystems, know that it is long road to achieve what they set out to do. There is no one day or milestone that will signal success. Progress takes a collaborative effort and involves many setbacks, but it will occur.

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