Why you shouldn’t rest on your laurels

Because somewhere out there, someone could be desperately trying and working to put you out of business.

I recently came across this quote from Mark Cuban, a well-known serial entrepreneur and billionaire in the United States. He said something along the lines of “Each morning, there is someone in this world who wakes up with the sole purpose and intention to put you out of business.”

For someone who was No. 211 on Forbes’ list of “World’s Richest People”, with a net worth of $2.6 billion in 2011, this definitely bears a lot of weight.

It’s one thing to be grateful for where you are at right now and to count your blessings, but it’s another to not take your current state of success for granted.

Beware the disruptors

You might be driving your taxi comfortably for the past 25 years, supporting your family and paying off the mortgage with your earnings. You are able to put your kids to college and everything seems great. Until Uber steps in.

You might be the owner of a chain of service apartments that is growing steadily due to the increasing influx of tourists into your area. You have been getting good returns and receiving good reviews and you are ready to let the good times roll. Until Airbnb steps in.

You might be operating an established airline brand that controls the biggest market share in your country (like British Airways) and everything seems to be working on your terms. Until Richard Branson steps in with Virgin Airways.

Beware the hustlers

Even if you are working as an employed professional, don’t take things too easily.

You might be working as a management consultant for the past 10-15 years and you now have a “manager” title on your business card. You know the industry like the back of your hand. You come in at 9am in the morning and head out even before the clock strikes 5pm.

Be sure to not be too comfortable and assume that you are well on your way to a safe and guaranteed retirement.

Because somewhere out there, there are young and aspiring management consultants (the “hustlers”) who are coming into the office at 7-8am to work on their industry skills and knowledge and leaving at 6-7pm so that they can accomplish more than their counterparts.

Their friends (and even you) might be having drinks on some weeknights or sitting at home watching TV. But these hustlers are working on improving and investing in themselves. They are reading voraciously, upgrading their skills, attending courses/workshops, meeting like-minded people in their industry and putting themselves out there.

Beware of the extra bits of effort the hustlers put in. A few extra minutes of personal/professional development here and there could mean a whole different career trajectory and horizon 5-10 years down the road.

Don’t rest on your laurels

So don’t rest on your laurels. Take the time to appreciate how far you have come and be grateful for the achievements you have bagged along the way.

But don’t take your success for granted, and don’t take future success as a given.

Keep stretching, upgrading and challenging yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and do things which you are fearful of or have never done before.

Life is like walking in the opposite direction on a travelator. If you remain stationary, you would be left behind. If you walk forward, you would remain roughly at the same spot (i.e. stagnation). For you to get ahead, you need to run. Forward.

Watch this 27 second travelator video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9VBpbnXhWk

What are your thoughts on not resting on your laurels? Share them in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

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