It was about three years ago. Me and my wife were walking through a shopping mall in an area called Glendale just outside of Los Angeles. And as we’re walking through this mall, there’s a couple of guys in front of me. And in front of them is this very large woman. Very large, 400 pound plus, it felt to me. Now before you start bitching at me about body shaming, for one, go sod yourself. Two, listen to the bloody video before you make a remark.
So there was this very large woman there. What really caught me about her was not her girth. It was the fact that she’d been shopping at Target and I knew this because she had a ton of bags on her arms and her arms were at nine and three to her side. They weren’t in front of her, they weren’t down to the side. They were literally out to her side blocking people from being able to get past her.
There were two things that caught me about this woman. One, she must’ve had incredible upper body strength to be able to hold all these bags up. And they were lined up from her wrist all the way up to her elbow. And two, the rudeness that she wasn’t allowing people to get past her really caught me in a busy mall.
So while these kind of thoughts are going through my head, something happened to absolutely change that. This woman took a trip, she took a stumble. And you could just see her going forward. And I couldn’t understand why she was leaning forward until I realized that she was falling forward. And it’s one of those moments when you know someone’s going down and we’ve all been through it. We’re stumbling, we’re tripping, and it seems to take forever. And in my eyes and in my head, this was taking a long time. And she was going down. And all I wanted to do was get there to protect her because I felt that this was not going to be good for her.
And the two guys in front of me were feeling the same thing. We all went for her. No good. She went down. And it was a horrible meat-slapping crash that she hit the side of her face on concrete. It was terrifying. It was a horrible sound that I’d never heard before and it was frightening. Her bags went everywhere. She was down on her side. Her dress was rumpled. It was a horrific sight to see this poor lady go down.
Now her bags went everywhere and as we got over to her, she started kind of murmur around. And we were worried about moving her, but she pulled herself around and sat herself up. Now while one of the guys was looking after her, me and the other fellow, and she sat there with her legs splayed just a little bit fuzzy and confused from the fall. We started grabbing all of our bags and pulling them in and quite simply putting them between her legs. Something to do with a bit protective, so she had all her belongings.
As she started to come around, she started to prairie dog. She started coming to look left and right quickly, very frantically. And I thought maybe she’d lost a phone, and a handbag, something like this. And I said to her, I said, “Hey, these are all your possessions here. These are all your bags. Is there something that’s not here? Are we missing something?” So that I could look around because the crowd was forming now.
And she looked down at her bags. She’s like, “No, no, no, no, no. I just wanted to make sure no one videoed it.” This woman had fallen down on her face. She didn’t strike me as a particularly agile, fit lady. I have no idea what condition she was like the following morning. The mall medics came over. We were ushered away and that was the end of it.
But I swear that woman woke up in the morning with a minimum of a few bruises and bashes and strains and that made me feel sorry for her. It really did make me feel sorry for her. What made it worse was the fact that all she cared about through that pain, through that mishap, through whatever damage she’d done on any of the stuff she had purchased that maybe had broken by now, she was upset that someone else had videoed it.
Why? Because for all the good social has done for us, it’s also educated us to laugh at people. We have shows, Americans Funniest Videos. I love watching it as well, but we love to watch people stumble, walk into walls, open doors, bang themselves. We love to laugh at people and sadly that’s multiplied when you’re an entrepreneur. How many times have you tried to do something with all great intentions that it’s going to work and everything’s going to be great and it fails? And you get that dick wad somewhere in the corner that turns around and goes, “Ha, I could’ve told you that wasn’t going to work.”
We meet thousands of those on a day basis. Those people, the laughers, those people that are scared, we’re going to prove them inadequate to be able to do what we’ve just conquered. But every time that we don’t, they love to be there to jeer and put us down. That’s the society we’re in now.
If you recall a little while ago, we had the head of Tesla, Elon Musk himself, produced this weird, funky-looking truck. Some people love it, some people hate it. But he produced something different, something revolutionary. But what was the headlines the following day? Not the man that disrupted banking through PayPal produces a truck, not the man that taught NASA how to put rockets in space gives us an extraordinary revolutionary truck. It was his bulletproof glass, smashes by a stunt. We wanted to find some way to bring that boy down. We wanted to find some way of laughing at him.
And as entrepreneurs, we fail a lot until we don’t. For starters, do you think Elon Musk gives a flying rat’s crap about the fact that that happened? Do you think he probably went back and went, “All right. This is what happened. This is where it went wrong. We’ll fix it. And he fixed it.” I’m going for option number two. I don’t think he cares about your opinion or approval. I think he cares about your feedback and he uses that feedback to make a better product.
As entrepreneurs, if we are lucky, we fail in this kind of safe space where maybe our dog and our radio is the witness to something that we tried to make and it failed. If we are unfortunate, it’s onstage. It’s giving a presentation. It’s shown something and then it goes wrong. And you get those people laughing at you.
What I’m urging you to do as an entrepreneur is learn from Elon. Learn from Bill Gates. Learn from Steve Jobs. Learn from all of these people to focus on what they did rather than the gig was in the corner. Because I’m telling you now, as Elon said years ago, they will laugh at you until they applaud. We’re in a society where we physically like to laugh at people. We love to bring them down. We love to hit, as soon as we can get on a bandwagon and go, “Oh that should never have happened. Let’s bring him down a peg to us more one level. We’re in that area. Don’t settle. I urge you, if they’re laughing at you, it’s because they’re scared. If they’re jeering, if they’re giving you that, “Oh, you can never do that,” they’re terrified you’re going to shut them up.
Use that fuel. There is nothing that ignites me than someone turning around and go, “You can’t do that.” Game on, gauntlet down, here I come, stand back. So as entrepreneurs, we’re different. We’re weirdos. We go to Hogwarts. We are in the place where we make magic happen. And sometimes it doesn’t make it as big as we wanted to. But it gets us closer to that step of magnificence. You’re a different kind of breed. I wish you to go forward and stop worrying about the jeerers. They’ll always be there. Use the moment as encourage, be so successful you have haters.
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