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The grind can be debilitating. You keep your head down, put one foot in front of the other, and focus only on what's directly ahead of you. You don't bother looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, because you know its distance can be demoralizing.
Everyone has been there. And entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to these moments. When you're working 80-100 hours per week, propped up on coffee and a dream, it's pretty much the only mindset.
I was reminded of the grind--and the visceral exhaustion that comes with it--while reading a WSJ. Magazine story about NBA star Kevin Durant published on Tuesday. The 6'9" sharpshooter ruptured his Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals in June, and will have to sit out the entire upcoming season.
Imagine getting to live your dream, whether it's launching a startup that'll change the world or achieving basketball superstardom, and then being sidelined for a year. For most athletes and entrepreneurs--Durant has a business mind too, having invested in more than 30 startups including Postmates, Lime, and Acorn--this would feel like torture.
Until you remember the grind. Here's an excerpt from the WSJ. Magazine story:
So here's another guess: Maybe he's not changed, or not merely changed--maybe he's also dead tired. He sounds tired, looks tired, with good reason. His 12-year NBA career has featured outsize doses of drama, scandal, injuries, gutting losses, fierce beefs, dramatic exits, emotional returns, burner accounts. Even his most devoted fans (Mom and Dad) say the ruptured Achilles and the yearlong layoff it will likely require might be a blessing.
Success brings pressure that can weigh on you, a little more each day, so incrementally that you don't really notice it. And when you've been working nonstop for years on end, it's easy to forget that other mindsets exist. It's Newton's first law: An object in motion will remain in motion with the same speed and direction until it's affected by an external force.
So the next time you're in the middle of the grind--even if you're grinding toward something you love--take a moment to remember Kevin Durant. Give yourself a break because you can, not because you must.