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Fate is everything.
Recently I watched the TV show Vikings. And it gave me a weird feeling: I felt like I understood the Entrepreneurs of the 8th century.
Fate is everything.
The show got me reading about the real Vikings, and one central philosophical point became my obsession. One of the most famous Viking sayings is “Fate is everything.” If the gods have decided your destiny, whatever you try to do, your glory or your doom is already defined. Yet Vikings still displayed an impressive amount of willpower, a society full of individuals who achieved incredible glory — so much glory that they’re being talked about in a tech newsletter twelve centuries later ;)
That central tension is the same inside StartupLand: as entrepreneurs, do we get lucky or are we fully responsible for our own fate? If you want to provoke a full, passionate debate with an Entrepreneur this Xmas, just tell them that it’s all a question of luck.
Reality is complicated.
Here’s the thing: fate is everything, but at the end of the day nothing is causally that simple. We try to look for an explanation in the shape of A caused B, but the reality is usually much more complicated.
And Vikings kind of understood that: they knew glory is still only for the one who fights hard. Valhalla is not open to everyone, just sitting there; like in Entrepreneurship, getting there is all about hard work and dedication.
Along the way you win some battles, you lose others. You make good decisions and you make bad ones. What matters is to keep fighting, and eventually you’ll find some treasures along the way.
Celebrate others - they worked hard.
The Viking sagas are full of common-born who rise to hold power and kingdoms. They’re full of those who became leaders because of their achievements. The big difference is that back then luck was seen as a sign of being favored by the gods, while today it is seen as something a bit unfair. Why do we have such a problem being happy about the luck of others? Just like good health, luck is good news and we should celebrate it as part of the journey. We should understand that good luck is a sign of hard work and dedication.
And the bonus is that nobody is killing one another these days, we’ve found an incredibly peaceful way of fighting: building startups. That’s why, while luck is an essential and mysterious part of the journey, celebrating the success of others is just as important.
What you achieve is thanks to luck, what others achieve is thanks to talent.
If you can think like that — you will be unstoppable.
Happy holidays & happy new year to all.
The Family’s next startup batch will happen remotely starting in January! If you’re an entrepreneur willing to grow your startup in the best conditions, apply here. Get ready for an intense 6-week program: getting smart advice, accessing top operators and fundraising with the best investors.