A CEO who sold his first startup for R14.5 billion explains how to build a company and stay happy at the same time
- Justin Kan is a mid-30s entrepreneur who sold his previous startup, Twitch, to Amazon for $1 billion (R14.5 billion), and has raised millions in VC funding for his current project, the legal startup Atrium.
- On Twitter, Kan explained how he manages to stay happy while doing the stressful work of building a company. With his permission, we've shared his advice below, in full and in his words, as well as some of the reactions from his followers.
- Among other things, he explains that you should make a point every day to recognize that even if you achieve your goal, you won't be any happier than you are right now.
- You should also continue to audit your calendar over time to take things off your plate that aren't in your Zone of Genius - the things you love to do that give you energy.
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Here's how to build a company - or really do anything challenging - while being happy.
Realize that if you achieve your goal, you actually won't be any happier than you are right now. This is easy to say but hard to do. Set a reminder to meditate on this every day.
Explicitly write out the list of responsibilities. Divide them up so that as much as possible you only do the ones in your Zone of Genius: the things you love to do that give you energy. Don't get trapped doing things you are good at but hate.
Continue to audit your calendar over time to take things off your plate that aren't in your Zone of Genius. Often new things can creep up that you feel compelled to do; defend your time!
Make sure to give yourself time for exercise; maintaining a healthy lifestyle will enable you to keep doing this for a long time.
Invest in building relationships with the people around you. If you like the people you are on the journey with, you'll be happier to stay on the journey.
Remember: everything hard will be painful, but just because there is pain doesn't mean you have to suffer. Good luck!
What Twitter had to say
After publishing the initial thread, Kan received plenty of reaction on Twitter - and even reacted to some of the responses.
One user asked, "Do you have any tips or insights on how to internalize or accept this? Any specific questions or concepts you visit during meditation?" Kan responded:
"'If I accomplish X, I actually won't be any happier"; I try to visualize what it will be like to accomplish it, and then what I'll feel like the next week. Generally it is easy to map back on to past accomplishments and the resulting return to baseline."
Another user disagreed with his position, writing, "I beg to differ..you have to put your ego, happiness on that goal. It's brutal but has personally worked for me at every stage of my life. I would have been super miserable if I failed."
Kan's response? "This seems very unhealthy!"
Many people were appreciative his overall sentiment. As one user commented, "I'm with Justin on this one. No single goal makes you Happy in the ethereal sense. Not even a massive monetary outcome. Happiness and sustained energy comes from doing what you love with the people you like, every day, achieving goals every day."
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