Ways to distinguish yourself #135 – Never discount "timing"

Be it in winning or be it in losting, timing plays an important role. One of the reasons why you should not try to duplicate somebody’s success. While you may be able to copy the actions by this successful person, you can be certain that you can’t recreate the timing of those actions.

The other events to watch out for is when you are wildly successful in something (too good to be true) or you fail miserably (too bad to be true) that’s a sign that timing has played – positively in the former case and negatively in the latter case.

For those of us living in the Silicon Valley for a while, we got to witness the importance of timing in a glaring fashion between 1997 to 2000. It was a wild ride dubbed as the “dot com boom”. Almost every company with or without a reasonable business model was making money. The circumstances were clearly a demonstration of the old saying “the rising tide lifts all.”

The point I want to make here though is different. For those people who succeeded in that frenzy, some of them succeeded because they were smart and some of them succeeded just because they existed at that point in time. For those that succeeded because of their merit won’t have a problem although they may get carried away a bit. However, those that got success because they “existed” during those times should clearly understand the value of “timing”. Some of them didn’t. And that was ONE of the reasons for a lot of failures in the valley in the post “dot-com boom”. Some of these people thought that for most part their success was because of their merit and got involved or started other ventures. They failed once – did not get the message (or thought they were just unlucky this time) and went and got involved in another venture. Six years later, now, I am sure many of them have realized the truth (although they don’t feel good about it) and have moved on. If they only had realized the value of “timing” a bit earlier, the pain would have been reduced.

When I bring this up in my talks, there is typically an argument stating that I am stretching this to an extreme. May be I am. But the point I am making is that when you succeed splendidly or when you fail miserably, please take note of what role “timing” has played in those events. This will help you to determine whether to try and replicate (or not replicate in case of failure) the actions to repeat the success or just learn from what happened.

Note: For other articles in the same series, please see my Squidoo Lens on the same topic
Squidoo Lens: Distinguish Yourself