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John Petersen

Pull Out a Bigger Gun

I was recently forced to watch a TV show. The show came out in 2011 so I'm a little behind the times, BUT it has some amazing lessons in entrepreneurship. The show is Suits, and this one is my favorite lessons.

A quick catch up for those of you unfamiliar with the show as I recently was: Suits is a legal drama centered around two main characters, Harvey Specter and Mike Ross. Harvey is a super talented, big-shot lawyer at a NYC law firm, and Mike is a college dropout, boy-genius who works as a law associate for Harvey despite having never attended law school. Harvey mentors Mike throughout the series and we all get to benefit.

Harvey's best line in the entire series is something I think about almost every day.

"What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or, you call their bluff. Or, you do any one of a hundred and forty six other things."

So good. I wish I could find a video clip of the scene, but they must be very protective on Harvey on the interwebs.

To clarify, I don't have people point guns at my head every day, but as entrepreneurs it definitely feels that way sometimes.

Average, Good and the Best

The average entrepreneur looks at a problem, comes up with a solution and moves forward. Maybe the solution is right, maybe it's not. Here's how to solve this problem, and here's exactly how we're going to do it. Even though that seems like a solid skill to have, it is the baseline for an entrepreneur.

A good entrepreneur can look at a problem and come up with 2 potential solutions. This is usually a black or white scenario. Either spend the effort to fix this problem and benefit from the solution, or ignore it and deal with the consequences. Talented entrepreneurs are going to choose the right option more often than they choose the wrong one and have a shot at being successful.

The best entrepreneurs are the ones who look at a problem as Harvey does. Here's 149 ways to solve this problem, and here's the absolute best one. Coming up with 149 solutions is incredibly difficult. Evaluating all 149 solutions, often times with partial or limited information, is even harder still. And having complete conviction in choosing the absolute best solution is what separates the 1% of the 1% from everybody else.

You want to be the Harvey Specter of entrepreneurship? You now know what to do the next time someone pulls a gun on you. Before you quietly back down or pull out a bigger gun, think about all the other infinite options that exist and figure out which one is truly best.

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