Usually, I'm not the type to do New Years resolutions, if only because I believe you should constantly be making resolutions if there's improvement to be made. With that said, however, this past year has been a trudging through the mud sort of year: somewhat painful, a lot of smiling and just making it through. But I'm kind of done with that now, there's not a lot to bring me down anymore. And so, to help jumpstart my attitude, I'm making my first New Years resolution since that unfortunate attempt at one of those photo-a-day efforts (which lasted about... Oh, four days?).
Back when I started ski racing I remember being advised on how to handle a Super G race (the kind of race where skiers might be clocked at 50, 60 mph). Much of skiing is trial by fire, but speed skiing is a particularly brutal beast such that coaches like to sit you down and explain to you the basics - there are a few rules that, if you generally follow, you might just not die. My coach began by explaining some of these basic rules. He then said, "But really, there's a basic rule you should always follow, regardless of the situation."
I sat in breathless anticipation of the golden rule of speed skiing. "In speed skiing, there are no brakes. Whatever you do, do not go for the brakes. Because they won't be there. There's only two things in speed skiing: an accelerator, and an eject button." And I have learned first hand, any little instinct you might have to slow yourself down, any inkling of self preservation, you must quash, because that is a reach for the eject button, and the only person for whom being ejected at 60 mph is painless is Inspector Gadget.
This advice seems particularly prescient now, in the world of start ups, and perhaps whatever semblance of a personal life I have remaining. In fact, in the early stages, the only real asset a start up has is its members insistence on forward momentum. So, with that in mind, I aim to take this advice and apply it like a religious maxim: always go for the accelerator.
Of course, my peers in ski racing had another, simpler, way of phrasing this same information, sometimes better for screaming into one's head at 60 mph:
"Don't be a pussy."