Mark Zuckerberg’s advice for success in business

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mark-zuckerberg-on-charlie-roseMark Zuckerberg was interviewed recently by Charlie Rose. Mashable published twelve quotes from that interview.

I clicked through the quotes in the slide show and didn’t think much of them. Perhaps they lost something outside the context of the actual interview.

But then I came back to one of the quotes, one that at first blush, seemed not to say much at all. The quote I came back to was Zuckerberg speaking about business:

“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”

It seems simplistic, doesn’t it? “Start with the easy things.” But it is truly profound.

Many people who start a business project, myself included, tend to focus on the hardest parts first. My thinking has been, “I can always do the easy things, I need to conquer the toughest challenges first because if I can’t lick those, this project will never get off the ground.”

How about you? Do you start with the easy things or, like me, do you first jump into the deep end of the pool?

Perhaps we equate “easy” with “having less value,” but in the practical sense, that isn’t true. The things we can do without a lot of thought or effort are often of greater value because they allow us to get started and getting started is the most important part.

Most business projects never see completion because they never get started. They remain ideas, Someday/Maybes, wishes and dreams.

How many projects have you conceived in the shower or while out for a drive that never got past the idea stage? In the light of day, when you thought about those ideas, you saw how difficult they would be. “I can’t do that. I don’t have time to do that. I don’t have the money to do that. Maybe some day.”

Perhaps you did get started, but you started on the difficult things first and saw first hand the immensity of the challenge. Now you know you can’t do this. Maybe some day.

What if you did the easy things first? What would happen?

You would learn things you need to know. Meet people who can help you. Gain confidence. And momentum.

If Mark Zuckerberg had thought about Facebook as anything more than what it was when he started, a little dorm room project, he may never have started. It was easy for him in the beginning, and fun. The hard parts came later after he was committed.

The most important part of any project is getting started.

Start with easy.

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