You Won’t Get Rid Of Your Problems. Best You Can Do Is Trade Up

I used to have this business partner Jim. He’d drive me nuts. Our startup business was part of the second class ever of Y Combinator during the winter of 2006. We built a virtual stock exchange that businesses could use to improve their forecasts. This was the early days of Ruby on Rails in 2006. Back then, Rails apps required a lot of care and feeding — they crashed, a lot — with our increased load.

Jim would wake me up after just a few hours sleep, “Nate, the site’s down again.” Requiring me to scramble. The growth of our app just gave us more problems. I was frustrated, exhausted and stressed. Jim’s attempt at comfort was, “These are good problems to have.” Thanks for nothing, Jim.

Growing up, we didn’t have a ton of money, creating all sorts of problems I wished to eradicate later on in life. One example that’s going to be tough to forget — in college on a car ride back home, I rolled up to a gas station while running on fumes. I pumped the tank full. Walked into the gas station to pay and found my ATM balance was $0 and credit cards maxed. I was soaked in sweat as I asked my passenger if she had some money to lend me. Luckily, she was already planning on giving me gas money for the trip.

It’s stuff like this that I couldn’t wait to get rid of as I got older. College would lead to a great paying job, and I’d move past these problems, and live a life far from this stress. But I got it all wrong.

My 3 year old has a cold again. She coughed all night. Sleep sucked. My head hurts. I have a cold now too. My day also entails trying to figure out why our search engine traffic to Highrise has been sucking. I’m frustrated.

But with the little bit of wisdom that comes with age, I realize more and more that my youthful desire to eradicate all the problems in my life was pointless. There’s always going to be a new problem I need to deal with. The sick kid. Her 3-year-old tantrums. The challenges growing a business already well ahead.

And worrying about search engine traffic is far from the frustration I felt in that gas station 20 years ago. The problems I had running a startup trying to gain just a tiny bit of traction in 2006 was so much worse compared to running a business today with tens of thousands of happy paying customers today.

Jim wasn’t wrong at all. We can’t eradicate our problems. Best we can try to do is trade up.

P.S. You should follow me on YouTube: here, where I share more about how we run our business, do product design, market ourselves, and just get through life. Also if you’ve enjoyed this article, please help it spread by clicking the below.

And if you need a no-hassle system to track leads and manage follow-ups you should try Highrise.