"Won't Work" and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Kevin Dewalt has some nice things to say about Dave Gobel, co-founder of the Methuselah Foundation (and the Mprize for anti-aging research). Stroll over to his blog and take a look:

As we chatted over lunch, David talked about his many past experiences as an entrepreneur and the challenges he faced in starting the Methuselah foundation. How his idea has evolved…how he connected with Aubrey de Grey…the challenges in getting credibility and the victory of Peter Thiel's donation.

At some point he began talking about his other endeavors and projects to help make our country safer. At one point in the conversation I found myself slipping into the “why it won’t work” mindset during the discussion. Then I caught myself and laughed internally.

Here I was in the company of someone who was pursuing perhaps the greatest human endeavor in history. Against all odds and critics, David Gobel was trying to defeat age-related diseases and turn back the aging clock for all of us in our lifetime.

I mean no disrespect to the other great human accomplishments, but does anyone know of another pursuit which measures up to this level of challenge and importance? Wallking on the moon? Discovery of DNA? Theory of Evolution?

I can’t think of one. Maybe the guy who discovered fire might argue with me.

In any case, can you imagine how many people have told David Gobel that his outlandish idea “won’t work”?

No-one commits absolutely to the fulfillment of a vision if there is any significant doubt of success in their mind. Entrepreneurs of all stripes are people deaf and blind to the cries of "won't work!" in their particular space of endeavor - and we all profit greatly from this mindset, where it is directed towards enabling a better future. Progress is only possible when at least some people are willing to risk financial security to attain a vision, and are willing to work themselves to the bone to see that vision accomplished. This is the mindset necessary to sow and nurture the seeds of new organizations, new technologies and new popular movements.

The Methuselah Foundation is on the way to a future of grand success; raising more than $8 million in cash and pledges in a few years is ticket enough to move from five and six figure donations to seven-figure fundraising and more. It is enough to influence the direction of longevity science, and start to wake the scientific community to action. It is enough to attract worldwide attention from the philanthropic and medical advocacy community. The challenges of growth faced by the Foundation volunteers today are just as tough as those of two years ago, but the potential rewards and results are far greater now. Success attracts further success, provided you keep putting the work in.

If you do one thing this year to help make the future a better place, make it a donation of time or money to the Methuselah Foundation. Reward the success to date by helping the Foundation achieve even more in the future; your contribution accelerates progress towards reducing the suffering of hundreds of millions, and eliminating the dreadful toll of more than 100,000 lives lost to aging each and every day. Little else any of us can do will have as much impact on the future well-being of humanity.

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