Netflix’s original (and acquired) programming has reached an unprecedented quality level over the past few years – House of Cards, Master of None, Narcos, Bloodline, Peaky Blinders, Making a Murderer – if you don’t know, now you know. And I’m fiercely loyal to the streaming service. But if you live in LA, you press the pause button on Netflix during the winter, and you hit the play button on awards season screeners. That’s what I did over the past month, anyway.
And though it certainly wasn’t as gripping as say Spotlight or as entertaining as say, The Martian, I keep thinking about one scene from Steven Spielberg’s Cold War era historical drama Bridge of Spies.
A Soviet spy sits in an American jail. His lawyer asks him, “Are you worried?” about the possibility of being executed. The spy Rudolf Abel calmly replies, “Would that help?”
And Abel’s line just keeps resonating with me. He’s so spot on. It may benefit him to strategize with his lawyer, put himself in the best position to make the most out of his situation, but worrying likely won’t benefit him much at all.
We all worry. I asked my wife if she was worried this week when we had to take our sick dog to the vet. “Would it help?” she Abel-ly replied. Fair enough. So when my colleague expressed his worry this week that he hadn’t heard back from a large prospective client, I told him about Rudolf Abel. He ended up hearing back a few days later – turns out that digging your car out after a blizzard took precedence over finalizing the deal. Snowstorm > SaaS dealmaking. Who knew?
So at work, I’m going to try not to worry too much about what my competitors are doing – at least about what I can’t control. Worrying distracts me from getting done the shit I need to get done, and I suspect the concept works the same way for others. I think it’s hard to win when you’re worrying.
Startups move fast: decision making is incessant, there isn’t often a ton of data to back up gut instincts, especially when you are pioneering in the early-stage, so worrying is just another unnecessary impediment that slows down progress.
We’re human, we have feelings, so of course it’s unlikely we’ll be able to reduce our worrying to nil. But perhaps we can get close. I doubt the world’s greats spend too much of their time worrying, they’re too focused, too motivated, too driven. I’d bet Serena Williams is more warrior than worrier.
I’m not sure what Serena is like of course, but I won’t dwell on it. It certainly won’t help.
Oh, and I think my dog will be OK too.