Learning through trial and error — An entrepreneurial journey
If one were a betting person and one was shown the topography of the earth more than 200,000 years ago I doubt if many people would have been putting their money on “Man” as a likely candidate to occupy the highest level in the food chain. I mean — we didn’t have the size, the height, the speed or even the agility of other animals. Furthermore, our reproduction system ensured that our offspring’s took a very long time to become independent. In short we did not have any of the comparative advantages that would have made us win this race of the food chain.
However I feel that our lack of some of the more obvious strengths mentioned above forced our ancestors to use their brain in the desperate fight for survival. It is here that nature has a real winner, as the fundamental law on which it is based is that the more you use something the more you can use something. This is the beauty of what we see around us as it has been perfected after millions of years of use and the best part is that it gets better with use. We rule the planet because our lack of size, strength and agility forced us to use our brain to survive. The usage of the brain must have happened as early man may have realised through a process of trial and error that there was something that he was doing which was making him overcome other animals in the race for food.
This brings me to the 2 fundamental laws of nature.
- All advancement happens through a process of trial and error
- The more you do something the more we can do something and so the better we become at it. I.e, the more we used our brain the more we could use our brain and so the larger it became.
As one starts a venture, meets with resistance, makes mistakes, overcomes doubt and carries on at some point the fundamental law of nature starts kicking in, i.e. the more you do something the better you get at it. So one learns from a process of trial and error (which is how nature learns) and as one is creating something ground up (which is again how nature builds) the more one does it, the better one gets at it. This is what happened and in my case as I took more than 5 years and 2 failed ventures to see monetary success, natures law helped me more than I could have ever imagined! The more businesses I started, the better I became until finally I had a breakthrough. I could extract monetary gains from my 3rd venture.
What I mean by “becoming better”
With each venture, although the ultimate outcome may have been a failure in the first 2, there were tremendous trial and errors happening at every stage. I was constantly meeting new customers, experimenting with new pricing, learning about new technologies, evaluating different delivery parameters to derive the perfect value and handling a different set of market dynamics. As a business is also an organism it also goes through the same process of doing what works and discarding what doesn’t (which pretty much is the evolutionary cycle) and this process of trial and error is what one experiences as a person who runs it. So in effect, I was learning through a process of trial and error and also becoming better at learning through this process (the 2 laws that I mentioned above)
Now when I look back at all those years I spent starting businesses before I saw financial liberation from one of them, the fact that I saw nature at work in front of my eyes and experienced the whole process was by far the biggest learning I had.