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Lesson #2: Don’t Take The Shortcut
When Cuban first started his own company, MicroSolutions, that was just about all he did. He sacrificed his personal life, his hobbies and much of his own money in order to get his business on its feet. He didn’t take a vacation for seven years and except for his two motivational favourites, Cuban never even made the time to read a fiction book during those seven years. But for Cuban, there was no other choice. He knew that in order to succeed, he would have to work twice as hard as the next guy.
“It’s called working your ass off,” says Cuban. “The difference is what you are willing to sacrifice. For every writer who wants balance in their life, there is a guy like me who gives up a lot to make their dreams come true.” For Cuban, business was personal and he put everything he had into make his a success.
“You have to work hard, and try to put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can see the opportunity and take advantage of it,” says Cuban. “There is always going to be someone out there that knows they have to compensate for maybe having less talent with harder work and preparation.” Cuban ran his businesses with this fear always in mind – that if he didn’t work as hard as he could, somebody else would take it all away from him.
It is this quality that Cuban not only tries to embody himself, but that he looks for in others who he hires. When asked by a reporter what makes a successful employee in one of his companies, Cuban replied, “Focused, hungry to learn and willing to work hard to gain an information advantage with an understanding that the customer owns us.” That is why, when Cuban launched The Benefactor, his reality show that had entrepreneurs competing for $1 million, he made sure that contestants understood he was not looking for special talents. “I’m not looking to find out who is the grossest, funniest, prettiest, smartest, or able to go without food or water the longest,” he said. Rather, Cuban was looking for someone with dedication, who was willing to give every task 110%.
In order to succeed, Cuban stresses the importance of recognizing one’s own strengths and weaknesses. “Make sure you are brutally honest with yourself about who you are,” he says. “You may think you are more talented than the next guy. Which is exactly what the next guy thinks as well.” But, rarely is talent enough, says Cuban. It is only through hard work and total commitment that you will be able to make yourself and your business stand out.
“Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you,” says Cuban. “And play like it’s your last chance to play.”
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