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Pain is temporary—quitting lasts forever You should always think twice when you read articles or books claiming that you can change your life as if by magic. I do not believe life is some kind of a one-armed bandit, where you can just insert five dollars and win the kind of life you desire. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, there is no other way but to work hard. You have to spend many hours working hard if you want to achieve what you want (the Danish entrepreneur Martin Thorborg says 70 hours a week, particularly in the early stages—to which I agree). And you must want it bad enough for you to be able to cope with the many hours of practice required in becoming really good at something. There are many television shows that feature people who lack skills—they cannot dance, they cannot sing, they cannot cook, etc. It has become a trend, especially among young people, to seem stupid or uninterested in reading a book or learning something, which is disastrous. Nobody achieves remarkable success easily. Everyone I know who has amounted to something in life has put many hours into doing a lot of practice. There are people who are good in adjusting to changes in their lives and make the best of the challenges they face. However, most of us do not appreciate too many major changes in our lives —at least not all at once. When I gave birth, my wise midwife said to me, “Remember that when you have a contraction, there is one less left.” This is how I often think about the pain, sorrow, or something that I have to endure. Most challenges come to an end eventually. I actually seek out physical pain through sports to push my physical limits over and over. A wise friend of mine once told me that you should enjoy those perfect days (those days when the children are behaving; you have the time to enjoy a delicious dinner, read, or meet good friends; the weather is beautiful, and so on) because they are few and far between. These two mental hooks make it possible, at least for me, to cope with or enjoy things. I am a person with high endurance, and I can take a lot of pain (too much) before I give up. I do not give up until I am close to dying. I even stop to throw up during a run and then continue running. When I decide to do something, I go for it 100 percent, and I never give up. This is not without consequences though—that I admit. Support and a kick in the pants Pain is temporary—quitting lasts forever!


I remember the last term of my E-MBA at the Copenhagen Business School—an education posing personal, academic, and professional challenges. At the time, I was so worn down that I almost felt like pulling the plug. Several of my friends and acquaintances advised me to give up, take a leave, or at least take some time off from these inhuman studies. Some people even suggested that I reconsider the level of my ambition because they doubted that my way of life was healthy! Fortunately, at the time I used to run with a woman who was ambitious like me. We regularly ran together for several years. This gave us ample time to discuss many a topic, and while I was in a mental state where I felt I was getting close to the edge and could be swayed in any direction, she gave me the most important push. When you are tired and worn out, you often find yourself in a sensitive phase where you get confused listening to the advice of too many people. I know I did, and since most people I know have a normal and, most possibly, healthy pain threshold, in their eyes, I had long crossed a limit that made them ask me to stop. Maybe they did it out of concern, or maybe out of envy, in case I succeeded in my endeavor! Anyway, during one of our many runs, she said, “You know what? You have spent almost two years on this MBA, and it is one of your milestones in life, and you have dreamed of it for so many years. Now, pull yourself together and get through the last bit.” She gave me that final important push that made me think, Now, I will do it! I will see it through! She offered me no pity. Sympathy, yes—but no pity. It makes a heck of a difference when you surround yourself with people who put positive pressure on you to make you realize your goals and dreams instead of having people who force their own belittled or misdirected compassion on you. I want to have friends who know my goals in life and support me in achieving these goals. Do you get the support you deserve? In 2007, as I held my MBA diploma in my hand (on the day I was to give birth), I had that “I DID IT” feeling. Sometime ago, I had my closest friends over for dinner. The funny thing is that they used to give me self-help books meant to help me gear down, provide caring advice, and give “please take care of yourself” eyes. I have known many of these friends for many years. They have stopped giving books. Now they support and encourage me, and they bring me gifts that are good for a busy person like me, such as an express nail polish remover and many other things of that sort. Fun, great, and crazy gifts. They have stopped admonishing me. And it only took them 10–15 years to stop. I had to say good-bye to a few people in the last few years because I did not feel that they were positive toward my focus on job and career. I am like a football player in the first team. I want to go all the way. Why stop now? I practice, train, and always try to improve. Building a career is like being an athlete. I often heard myself apologizing to these people. I was apologizing for being busy, for having bigger ambitions, and for not being contented with life as it was at the moment, and so on. I believe in sacking people out of your life if they do not meet the following criteria: 1. They must be positive toward you. 2. They must want good things to happen to you.


3. They must have the guts to challenge you, and not just pat you on the back. 4. They must be inspiring and interesting people.

Something is definitely wrong if I heard myself disapproving of the life I am living right now and ended up in a situation where people make me feel that I should be ashamed. It is good to have friends and family who make you reflect on your life. However, you should not have friends or family who make you feel that you are not good enough or that you are doing something wrong just because you are ambitious.

Profile for Soulaima Gourani

Pain is temporary — quitting lasts forever  

The only way to become a successful entrepreneur is by working hard every day. There is no shortcut in life, and think twice when articles o...

Pain is temporary — quitting lasts forever  

The only way to become a successful entrepreneur is by working hard every day. There is no shortcut in life, and think twice when articles o...

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