Jawad Mian Profile picture
14 Feb, 25 tweets, 3 min read
1) Stray Reflections is now 7 years old.

But I *almost* gave up multiple times on the journey.

This is that story. 👇🏼
2) By 2017, I had been writing for nearly three years and the business was generating no more than $40,000 in revenue.

My savings had run out. We were living month to month.
3) Mark Twain’s guidance for writers felt to me like a condemnation:

“Write without pay until somebody offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.”
4) My wife had no idea and we were expecting our second child.

I decided not to let her in on the financial realities from the very beginning so as not to worry her.
5) She had married a more prosperous Jawad, and it was important for me that her lifestyle changed not one bit.

The business was a risk I was taking; internalizing the entirety of the emotional volatility was my job.
6) I thought of quitting. A close friend was getting married, and I couldn’t afford the airfare to Beirut.

And how would I cover hospital expenses for the delivery of our baby? Things were dire.
7) I updated my resume. I applied for jobs. I even went for a few interviews.

The whole time I felt like I was cheating on myself, but I went through the motions.
8) My circumstances were changing; I had to be responsible. (Still, nothing matched the pleasure of writing Stray Reflections.)
9) The truth of it eluded me at the time, but I was in the middle of what Seth Godin calls the Dip.
10) That critical turning point in a life or business when the joys of starting out have faded and the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” is still out of reach.
11) The Dip is the set of artificial screens set up to keep people from going to the next level and realizing their true potential.
12) As Godin puts it, “The Dip is the secret to your success.”
13) I felt beaten, but I still believed in what I was doing.
14) “The whole course of things goes to teach us faith,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson advised. “There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening, we shall hear the right word. We need only obey.”
15) It’s not all for nothing is what I heard. Surviving is, in fact, succeeding.
16) I was making progress and had only two choices: quit or be exceptional.

I chose the latter.
17) “In a competitive world,” Godin writes, “adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition.”
18) I gave up the search and re-invested my time, energy, and effort in the business.

The Dip was my opportunity to get better every single day.
19) I started writing more, traveling more, and building a community and an experience that people wanted to be a part of.
20) This way, I took risks and focused on branding while everyone else was busy selling.

I’m happier playing the long game. It’s sensationally more powerful.
21) After persevering through the Dip, I told my wife everything.

Her reaction was priceless. “So, wait, we didn’t have any money?”
22) Her eyes showed fear and guilt, and then, as she realized all this was in the past, she breathed a sigh of relief and a smile broke across her face. We laughed together.
23) The lesson: A story takes time to unfold.

Be patient. Persevere through the dips.
24) Today, Stray Reflections has a diverse global following.

I have more confidence and conviction in what we’re building than at any time before.

That excites me.
25) But as Anatole France said, “If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”

Seven years in, a lifetime to go.

You can learn a tiny bit more about our community here. 🙏🏼

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More from @jsmian

7 Feb
1) Do you ever find yourself striving for perfection, and then being disappointed because it always eludes you?

2) As a young student in Hamburg, Peter Drucker went to see the opera every week.

He had very little money, but showing up an hour before the performance meant scoring any of the unsold cheap seats allocated to university students for free.
3) Upon one evening, he sat for Falstaff.

“I have never forgotten the impression that evening made on me,” he said, totally overwhelmed by Giuseppe Verdi’s comic opera.
Read 12 tweets
4 Feb
1) It is our lot to see things differently.

Bystanders look for a long time—free of constraints, unobscured by their own judgments, waiting patiently to grasp the essential truth.
2) What we see is that the ICT revolution is far from complete and that rather than a dystopian, divisive future, what lies ahead is a green socially sustainable golden age.
3) We also see through the mist of the pandemic. The outlook is uninspiring, even with the vaccine breakthroughs.
Read 5 tweets
28 Jan
1) If you're not reflecting on risk management after this week's events then what are you even doing?

Here's a thread on some basic thoughts on how to better manage risk and mistakes going forward:
2) First of all, given where we are in the investment cycle, focus more intently on the downside than the upside.
3) Slow down if you see a loss of money on any position. That should put you on high alert.

Keep looking for disconfirming evidence.
Read 10 tweets
2 Jan
"What important truth do very few people agree with you on?"

My heretical answer to Peter Thiel's favorite interview question. 🔥
1) If you want to be successful, surrender.
2) Before you ask me what I mean by surrender, ask yourself what it means to be successful.
Read 8 tweets
27 Dec 20
1) This year has been difficult for many investors, whether you are a novice or an experienced risk taker.

It would be useful to revisit today's money masters and see how they dealt with gut-wrenching loss.

It always helps renew my ambition. THREAD 👇
2) Paul Tudor Jones lost $10,000 when he was 22, and when he was 25 he lost about $50,000, which was all he had to his name.
3) In 1979, PTJ's fourth year in the business, he lost over 60% of the equity in his clients’ accounts on a single cotton trade that went horribly wrong.

“I am not cut out for this business," he said. "I don’t think I can hack it much longer.”
Read 18 tweets
24 Dec 20
1) Shortly after I graduated from university, I landed a job as a bank teller in Toronto.

It was, surprisingly enough, one of the best things that happened to me.
2) I was shy growing up. I was always the quiet one among friends.

But as a bank teller I was forced to interact with everyone. This helped me break out of my shell.
3) lt was a small neighbourhood branch with a sociable atmosphere.

The branch manager was Italian, the two personal bankers were Indian and Spanish, the financial advisor was Greek, and my two side-kicks at the till were Irish and Canadian.
Read 15 tweets

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