Why suffering is the most valuable skill of them all

I recorded this video recently. I tell a story of my anxiety attack on the side of the road in Boston in 2013.

It’s very applicable to what I’m about to tell you in the rest of this write-up.

I’ve hired 30 employees outside of the USA with the help of Shepherd and it has been an absolute game changer for my business.

Underwriters in Colombia for $1,500 per month full time. Customer service reps with perfect english in the Philippines for $1,100 per month. Executive assistants for my construction team for $1,000 per month.

If you haven’t hired an employee abroad, doing so will change your business and your life. I recommend setting up a call with Shepherd and getting the process started.

People rarely talk about the losses. The hardship. Failure.

I’ve experienced a lot of it. The fact is that business is hard. Making money is hard. Despite what you read on social media from guys like me.

I posted about the hardships a few weeks ago and it was one of my most popular newsletters ever. But I got the same question more than 10 times in the email inbox:


The experienced entrepreneurs all responded with the same message:

“Nick – you’re scaring off all the entrepreneurs without talking about why the suffering is important.”

And they’re right. The suffering is incredibly valuable and important along the entrepreneurial journey. This is counterintuitive.

Why? Why is it important?

Stress is relative.

There are two types of people in this world:

People who struggle with grace and people who simply can’t hack it when the going gets tough.

The flat tire experiment is the best way to explain this:

There are two people who each get a flat tire on the way home. But there is no cell reception. Neither of them have ever fixed a flat tire before.

The first person freaks out. They get upset in their car and spend 45 minutes waiting for cars to pass until a redneck pulls over and fixes it for them. They think about it often and get scared of it happening again. It ruins the week and they have a fear every time they drive.

The second person thinks critically about the problem, gets out the tools and analyzes them before slowly and clumsily fixing the flat. It was a minor inconvenience and a non-issue. They drive away and forget about it a few weeks later.

The first person tells everyone they know about it. The second forgets to tell their spouse about it over dinner that night.

The only difference between these two people:

The RELATIVE stress of the situation compared to other areas of their lives. The second person is used to dealing with stress and they are BETTER at it. The first person does not live a stressful life so when it hits, they falter.

Your ability to deal with stress is a muscle.

The only way to train that muscle is to practice.

You can’t read about stoicism and meditate. You can’t think about how you’d react and rehearse in your mind.

You have to deal with stress and learn to operate under its crippling weight.

Before somebody gets brought to their knees in life you can never be sure how they’ll truly react under pressure. I’m talking about those moments in business when you lose all control and have to will yourself to continue on. Those moments when it all might fall apart.

Winning is easy. Celebrating a victory doesn’t require any special traits.

Adversity reveals the true nature of a person. How do they react when things don’t go their way? When it’s all falling apart…

Dealing with stress and pain is a superpower. You become hard to kill and hard to shake.

This gives you an extreme competitive advantage for one main reason:

Most people who are in situations to start companies or become leaders at companies have had a really easy life.

They were coddled as kids, decisions were made for them, their parents bailed them out of stressful situations, and they got ZERO practice making hard decisions and dealing with stress. They sleep in a 70 degree room with a sound machine on a $2,000 mattress and have a cleaning lady come every Thursday at 9:05am.

These people are your competition.

And they can’t deal with stress.

If you can go through the stressful situations and thrive, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

The truth:

Life is hard for everyone and the winners are simply able and willing to put themselves in uncomfortable situations.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Every single successful business owner deals with very uncomfortable situations. Phone calls where people ask for more money. Problems that could sink the company rise directly to him or her to deal with.

Sales is uncomfortable. Investing is uncomfortable. Risk is uncomfortable.

Practice getting used to it and watch your world open up.


P.S. I’m an investor in a new web development firm called WebRun.

They built this amazing investor landing page for my real estate firm and I’m VERY impressed by their work.

If you need a website overhaul, new website or landing page – schedule a call with Will at WebRun to get a free proposal!

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.