Let me give context before I jump into why I believe this is one of the most important philosophical ideas for an Entrepreneur or a Startup. We had a company retreat for Strategic Planning and Alignment within GreenQloud. We are starting to become a big enough team that we need to get away from our office. We used the material from the book Good To Great to set the context and ask some fundamental questions about what we are trying to do. It was extremely interesting and insightful for me to get input from everyone in Team GreenQloud. We went through the 12 Questions individually and discussed each ones input. While we are going through the question, one of the question was
What are the brutal facts, and how can we better live the Stockdale Paradox?
As Jim Collins explains it in the book
The Stockdale Paradox
Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND at the same time. Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
The idea is based on James Stockdale, a naval officers experience being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. This concept was is also shared in another great book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Victor Frankl. I have written about Victor Frankl. I am not sure why Jim Collins decided to call it a paradox because for those who go through the Struggle, it is not a paradox it is how you get through the struggle. One has to face the brutal facts and have faith that one will prevail. I believe this is what every successful entrepreneur does, those who walk through the fire understand and can relate to the above statement. I am fortunate to have had the above experience, there were many time in the last 5 years where I have stared at the abyss, with not many options in front of me but something in me provided the faith that I will prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties. It was not blind faith, but faith that allowed me to move one step forward by facing the brutal facts and reality. Look at problems as opportunities to improve a relationship or really work on my creativity at problem solving or use the problem to bring new people/ideas on board to try to work through it as a team. There are many strategies for dealing with things, but the most important strength is the inner ability or powerful Will to believe you will prevail.