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The problem isn’t you. The problem is the problem. (thestartuptoolkit.com)
53 points by robfitz on Dec 7, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments



We are facing something of the situation.

There is a problem in the product and we find ourselves questioning our ability, motivation and everything else.

Thanks for the post


My advice? Go out and find something really hard to do to give your business issues some context.

I'm a record-holding ultra-endurance cyclist and only came to the sport later in my business career. It was amazing to me how much more manageable the issues presented by business became after I'd accomplished (and failed a few times) at something super-hard.

Physical activity is great in this regard because it will have direct benefits in your day-to-day business activity - you will be more effective and a better frame of mind, and it has much less risk of distracting you. Whatever you take on as your challenge, make sure it won't ultimately distract you from the real problems you are trying to solve.

Anyways, my $0.02...


Shoot me an email (in profile) if it would be useful to bounce some ideas around about it.


This is a general life rule.

The amount of hobbies I have started at and not enjoyed the first few sessions, then blamed not keeping going on my own persistence rather than admitting either A: it's too hard, or B: I don't actually enjoy it as much as I thought I would (Both of which tie in somewhat, people generally excel at what they enjoy).

The amount of times I used to blame any failed conversation on myself until a friend simply said (something along the lines of) "It takes two to chat". Also applies more generally to relationships, both of which can be hard to manage.

I'm sure there are many more examples, knowing your limits is key to being happy with your achievements.


Well, that has already happened to me sometimes. Everytime that happens, I get a little down. Makes no good.

The problem isn’t you. The problem is the problem. My new mantra (:


If this struck a chord, you should definitely check out Steven Pressfield's Do the Work book linked in the post. His reading of it is super awesome.


Thank you. Maybe I'll buy it (:


This is great advice that I've found to be useful when applied to management too.

It can be valuable to look at mistakes in a team as not something that is created by individuals, but as something that is the by product by a larger system with a bug in it. You can fix bugs in a system and the system gets better, but it's much harder to try to fix people (short of the easy answer which is to fire and replace).


Thanks, Siqi - totally agreed. There's always a process behind the person and you get a lot less heartbreak and vitriol when focused on fixing the former.


This would work until you meet someone who gives you an insightful idea five minutes after hearing your problem while you've been breaking your head on it for a couple of days. I've lost track of the number of times I've felt like an idiot.


Haha, yeah, outside perspective is priceless. Even being able to ask someone for help is a step in the right direction, since it suggests (at least to) that you've identified a problem outside of your own incompetence ;)




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