stay hungry stay foolish

Entrepreneurial lessons from Rashmi Bansal’s Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Each chapter of the book is as different as the entrepreneurs themselves and their work. But there’s one thing common in all of them—their spirit of never giving up.
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Every entrepreneur who doesn’t give up and continues to forge ahead despite the odds has a story to tell. A story of a journey that begins with a dream and ends when it turns into reality, which becomes an inspiration to many others who aspire to become successful entrepreneurs. Learning about the journey of those who dared to dream big and conquered new heights with their determination and courage can offer enriching insights that can propel you towards success.

Oftentimes, books serve as wellsprings of inspiration when you want to read about the stories of those who tasted success on the path. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal is one such book that tells the stories of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who aimed for the sky. Each chapter is as different as the entrepreneurs themselves and their work. But they all have one thing in common—the spirit of never giving up. The book shows what happens when goals meet perseverance. The book, which was published in 2008, has reportedly sold over 500,000 copies, inspiring a younger generation to believe in themselves, envision bigger dreams, and create their own legacies.

Here are a few entrepreneurial lessons from Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish that will help you in your journey.

Keep your eyes and mind open

In her book, Bansal writes, “Ideas can come from anywhere. You could be sitting in a tub and have a eureka moment. Or in a bus or at your dining table.” This is true as long as you keep your eyes and mind open. This will help you spot opportunities that can be your breakthrough. Just look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They didn’t limit their thinking to what already existed. They wanted to give birth to innovations, which would change our lives forever. iPhones and electric cars exist because of the pioneering vision of these entrepreneurs who dared to think big and out of the box. You, too, can aim for the stars by cultivating an open-minded attitude.

Love your work

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish talks about the aspects that constitute success, especially the importance of loving what you do. The bestselling author writes, “If you love your work, and it gives your life meaning, then you will have fun through the difficult times. You will find it in your heart to keep going. You will never lose hope.” Doing something you love is probably the biggest gift one can have. It’s like winning a lottery. What can be more important for anyone, let alone entrepreneurs, than finding passion and meaning in what they do? If you want to embark on your entrepreneurial journey, start by pursuing something that you are truly passionate about. It doesn’t have to be something grand. If you love cooking or you are a music aficionado, you can always find a way to turn your passion into a career. You just have to find the right path for yourself and work towards getting there.

It’s never too late to dream big

There is no age limit when it comes to building an entrepreneurial mindset. Today, you may have a regular 9 to 5 job but tomorrow you might be preparing to start your venture. It all depends on seizing the opportunity that comes your way.

Harland David Sanders, famously known as Colonel Sanders, was 65 when he opened the first restaurant of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Gordon Bowker was 52 when he co-founded Starbucks. Henry Ford was 40 when he started Ford Motors. In Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish, Bansal writes, “These entrepreneurs did not plan to take this path but when opportunity knocked, they seized it. Their stories go to show that you don’t have to be ‘born with it’, you can develop an entrepreneurial bent of mind at any age.”

Be patient and keep pursuing your goal

Entrepreneurship is a game of patience. If you understand this, you can’t be knocked down by setbacks because you know success takes time. You can’t reach your destination without encountering challenges that may compel you to quit. But if you are patient and keep pursuing your goals despite the odds against you, one day you will achieve your dreams. Talking about patience, Bansal writes, “And if you chase something long enough, sooner or later you will get lucky. If you are really lucky then you will do it in 5 years, if you are moderately lucky then you will do it in 10 years, if you are terribly unlucky you will do it in 15 years.” And luck is just another name for success, at least in the dictionary of entrepreneurs.

Take a leap of faith

The ability to take risks is the biggest virtue of an entrepreneur. It defines their success and how far they can go. In every industry, those who can take risks are trend builders. The rest are followers. Bansal throws light on the importance of listening to your gut and taking a leap of faith. The author writes, “Entrepreneurship is about dozens of small leaps of faith like this. Taken every day. Often, you have to take a contrarian stand. You can’t say why but this feels right. And you have to have it your way.” So until you make it big, you have your intuitions and gut feelings to rely on, and most of the time they don’t lie.

Competence is more important than loyalty

Don’t mix loyalty with competence. Both are important but when it comes to taking your venture to another level, you need people who have the knowledge and skills to get the job done. Without a competent team, it’s difficult to reach where you want to. Bansal writes, “When it comes to investors, and even when it comes to your own people, loyalty is important but competence matters more.” Make sure that you are surrounded by capable people who know their way around problems and can come up with solutions without losing their calm.

Find your purpose

“Find purpose and the means will follow,” the author writes in Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. If you have a purpose, half of the battle is won. Purpose gives you the strength to face any challenge with grace. It gives you the motivation to get up every morning, feeling excited for the day. To be a successful entrepreneur, start with finding your purpose. It will strengthen the foundation of your venture and help you know who you are and who you want to be. When you have found your purpose, you will have a lucid understanding of your path ahead. This, in turn, will help you weather the storms because when you know why you have set a particular goal for yourself, you will naturally know how you can accomplish it.

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