Founders are likely to worship on the altar of perseverance and grit. In any case, startup lore is marked by “slow-bake” tales like Roblox’s or (extra not too long ago) Figma’s journey, the place it took years of patiently grinding it out to get to that inflection level and outsized end result. The aversion to quitting is so sturdy that that merely saying the phrase is nearly like uttering “Macbeth” in a theater — even the point out may invite misfortune. As a substitute, we go for softer euphemisms, like “pivoting,” “iterating,” or “getting into a distinct route.”
So when Annie Duke got down to write her newest e-book, titled “Stop: The Energy of Figuring out When to Stroll Away,” she knew she was tackling a sensitive topic. “I’m on a mission to rehabilitate the phrase, which has been given the Voldemort therapy. However whereas my e-book known as ‘Stop,’ under no circumstances do I need to suggest that grit is not an vital trait or a muscle price growing,” she says. “Grit will get you to stay to issues which can be worthwhile, but in addition very arduous. And a lot of the issues that we do which can be worthwhile and can change the world are going to have durations which can be actually troublesome. The place we go fallacious is in pondering that grit is simply good — interval.”
Earlier this yr, we formally launched Duke as First Spherical’s Particular Associate for Determination Science, sharing her decision-making recommendation for founders proper right here on The Assessment. As a advisor, bestselling writer and former poker professional, there are few who’re higher outfitted to show founders concerning the artwork of understanding when to carry ‘em, and understanding when to fold ‘em.
“Once we take a look at success tales that have been a very long time within the making, there’s a temptation to say sticking to it’s simply good — full cease. However the issue is that the grit that enables us to energy by means of may even get us to stay to issues that aren’t worthwhile,” says Duke. “Success comes from sticking to the stuff that’s working and quitting the remainder. That’s why quitting is a ability you could get good at.”
It is true that so as to achieve success at one thing, you need to stick with it — however that does not essentially imply that sticking to one thing makes you profitable.
On this unique interview, Duke unpacks the psychology behind why it’s so arduous to stroll away. She flags the cognitive biases to watch out for, from how identification can turn into enmeshed in firm constructing, to the frequent tendency to make incremental modifications as a substitute of taking extra drastic measures.
Duke shares a set of psychological fashions that may show you how to strategy essential choices with a clearer mindset, sharing focused methods for goal-setting, evaluating progress, and looking for exterior counsel. Her tactical recommendation is useful for all the massive forks within the street, whether or not it’s quitting your job, firing an early worker, abandoning a product, altering your go-to-market technique, or sadly, shutting down your startup.
Choose to hear alongside as a substitute? Try our latest In Depth podcast episode with Duke right here.
Setbacks come in numerous stripes. Within the startup context, sunsetting a product function that flopped pales compared to the troublesome option to wind down the enterprise altogether. However take the “pivot.” Regardless of its scrappy, entrepreneurial connotations, it’s a stop in disguise, says Duke. “I do not suppose we must always cover behind the time period pivoting.”
We have a tendency to consider quitting as leaving the court docket. However pivoting remains to be quitting.
“The thought of quitting is such a bitter tablet to swallow that we now have to take it with a spoonful of sugar,” she writes in her e-book. “Stripped of its detrimental connotation, quitting is merely the selection to cease one thing that you’ve began. We should cease pondering that we have to wrap the concept of quitting in bubble wrap and serve it delicate.”
She factors to a few examples: “Stewart Butterfield was growing an internet recreation after which pivoted to constructing Slack — that is quitting. He stop growing a recreation,” she says. “Or take Notion, the place the founders have a dramatic story of throwing out the code, downsizing the staff, and rebuilding the product from scratch. The important thing takeaway from these tales is that they weren’t simply pounding their head towards a product that wasn’t working.”
In these dramatic pivots, the place issues seemed to be on the point of failure after which founders rise from these ashes into success, there’s plenty of quitting that is normally occurring.
However the line between when to maintain at it and when to throw within the towel isn’t normally clear-cut. Right here’s why so many founders go for the previous, even once they shouldn’t: “You’ve this broader objective of making a profitable startup, and that is what you are abandoning once you shut an organization down. You’re admitting which you could’t flip it round anymore. That is the second that you need to say, ‘It was failing earlier than, however now I have failed,’” says Duke.
“Pivots are simpler for us to deal with as a result of we nonetheless have that likelihood to make the corporate work and obtain our objective of constructing a startup — even when we now have to desert the product that we have been initially growing.”
So long as that likelihood exists, it’ll normally really feel too early to surrender the trigger.
It’s a well-known scene: A startup’s go-to-market movement simply isn’t working. They’ll’t appear to get prospects to signal on. However the founder insists that it’s a hiring difficulty — if they might simply get the proper salesperson on board, then all of the items of the puzzle would snap into place.
“As an outsider, you possibly can see that it’s far more difficult. You’ll want to change the entire GTM movement, and even change the product itself drastically. And exterior advisors typically have this sense of, ‘Why can’t they clearly see what I can see?’” says Duke.
The problem stems from the expectations we place on our future selves. “All of us anticipate that if we see indicators that what we’re doing isn’t working, clearly we’ll then change gears. That is the instinct that allows us to make choices beneath uncertainty within the first place,” she says. “When you consider which product you’re going to develop, or the GTM movement you’ll wager on, you’re making these choices beneath tons of uncertainty. There’s plenty of stuff we don’t know. And there’s going to be data discovery alongside the way in which. We consider that after we uncover that data, we are going to absolutely stop one thing that’s not working and alter course.”
In reality, the alternative tends to be true.
Once we get indicators from the world which can be detrimental, that the factor we’re doing is not working, we really escalate our dedication to no matter it’s that we’re doing.
Duke flags just a few of the driving forces behind this impulse to double down:
Motive #1: Sunk price fallacy
“Richard Thaler first recognized this impact. Once we’ve put plenty of effort into one thing, we do not need to swap course as a result of we expect that then we’ll have wasted all the time or the hassle. Should you purchase a inventory at $50 and it is now buying and selling at $40, you do not need to lose $10. However in fact that $10 is already misplaced — it is already sunk,” says Duke.
As a substitute, the query must be: Is it worthwhile going ahead? “So typically founders suppose, ‘If I cease now, I will have wasted a yr and a half of my time, my staff’ time, my buyers’ cash. However do you need to waste the subsequent minute? Persevering with to allow them to plug away at one thing the place their fairness is not price something is what’s losing their time.”
Begin fascinated by waste as a forward-looking drawback, not a backward-looking one.
Motive #2: Establishment bias
“As soon as we’ve established the established order, just like the GTM technique that we’re at the moment executing on, there’s a bias that makes it very arduous for us to change,” says Duke. “Once we dump that go-to-market movement and attempt to develop one thing else, if that new plan doesn’t work out, there’s an asymmetry to how we course of that remorse. We really feel it far more keenly after we begin one thing new. So we might favor to make incremental modifications, hoping we will nonetheless flip it round.”
We’re far more tolerant of the dangerous outcomes that come from sticking to the plan than from switching to one thing new.
Motive #3: Founder identification
“While you do issues which can be exterior of the mainstream, they turn into a part of your identification — which is especially true for founders. And strolling away out of your identification is so extremely arduous,” she says. “The toughest factor to stop is who you’re. You can be extra prone to reject the info moderately than to replace your beliefs, even when the proof is obvious.”
This compounds over time. “The extra that we put into one thing, the extra our identification will get tied up with what we’re doing, the extra endowed we’re to it. That makes it tougher and tougher to stop. You’re employed on one thing for six months, which makes you extra prone to proceed engaged on it since you’ve already put six months into it. That causes you to place one other yr into it. And so forth, and so forth,” says Duke. “It turns into a self-reinforcing cycle.”
There is a massive distinction between shutting your organization down after six months and shutting it down after 9 years. The longer that we proceed to do one thing, the extra cognitive particles builds up — and the tougher it’s to desert.
Motive #4: Tendency to grade targets as move/fail.
There isn’t a scarcity of goal-setting frameworks to select from. However Duke finds that almost all of them have the identical drawback. “There’s numerous proof that objective setting is nice. I am not going to argue with the physique of proof that claims in the event you create very clear, particular targets it helps individuals to realize outcomes extra shortly,” she says.
However there’s a sneaky draw back that we regularly overlook. “A lady was operating the 2019 London marathon and she or he began experiencing ache in her legs round mile three. After which, at mile 8, her fibula snapped. And this is the superb factor — she stored operating. She completed the marathon on a damaged leg,” says Duke. “This may sound sort of nutty. However 4 individuals in that 2019 London Marathon broke one thing and continued to the end line. Only a fast Google search will inform you that tales like this are extremely frequent. Individuals proceed to run, which extends restoration time after the race and will influence their means to ever run once more sooner or later,” she says.
“As soon as we set that end line, we grade it pass-fail. Should you stop after mile 20, you failed. Should you run 26.2 miles, you handed. Regardless that operating 20 miles is healthier than not having tried in any respect — cognitively, not having tried in any respect feels higher to us than having to stop. Should you’re 300 yards from the summit of Everest, however you don’t really summit the mountain — you failed. By no means thoughts that you just climbed greater than virtually any human being ever has.”
The issue with targets is that when we set a end line, they’re graded pass-fail. And we are going to barrel towards that end line, come what could. The objective itself turns into a set object, although the situations have modified.
Founders will acknowledge that this phenomenon applies exterior of bodily feats, in fact. “If no one’s shopping for the product, and we clearly have not achieved product-market match and it does not appear to be it is on the horizon, we’ll maintain tinkering anyway. We ignore the indicators that we’re off observe. As a result of we now have a end line, and it is graded pass-fail,” says Duke.
“One of many issues that give startups a bonus is that they are exploring in a approach that established corporations aren’t in a position to. Enterprises have an innovation drawback. Startups are exploratory. However what we now have to comprehend is that the very act of setting a objective makes you turn into an increasing number of enterprise-like. You cease exploring different avenues, methods, merchandise, and motions that you possibly can be pursuing,” she says.
Her recommendation: Get particular concerning the “unlesses.” “I’ll run this marathon until I break my leg in the midst of it — after which I will cease. This appears foolish, as a result of, clearly, we expect, if we break our leg we’ll cease. However you are not going to cease when you’re in the midst of it. So after we’re setting targets, we now have to set these unlesses prematurely, too” says Duke.
Targets are nice — so long as you could have thought prematurely about what would make it so that you just wouldn’t pursue that objective anymore.
So how can founders reduce by means of these cognitive challenges and make the appropriate resolution? How will you get higher at recognizing these cases within the second, saving your self heartache and dead-ends? Duke shares 5 methods for disciplining your decision-making and getting extra comfy with quitting:
Technique #1: Prepare the monkey earlier than you construct the pedestal.
“My key advice is that you could perceive whether or not or not you need to proceed as shortly as doable. And the mannequin that I like to make use of for this comes from Astro Teller, who’s the CEO or ‘Captain of Moonshots’ at Google X,” says Duke.
“This group is making an attempt to do tremendous modern issues which have a really excessive likelihood of failure. They’re going after large non-incremental discoveries, they usually need to get these massive world altering concepts to commercialization in 5 to 10 years. However even at Google, they’ve restricted sources. You solely have a sure period of time, consideration and cash which you could commit to issues,” she says. “And so Astro Teller is making an attempt to know if a undertaking is price pursuing or not, particularly compared to all the opposite issues that they might pursue. And he’s making an attempt to get to that call as shortly as doable to cut back these sunk prices and identification points.”
Teller depends on an uncommon psychological mannequin to get there. “Think about that you just’ve determined that you just need to prepare a monkey to juggle flaming torches whereas standing on a pedestal within the city sq.. Should you may accomplish that, you’d make numerous cash. However once you’re approaching this concept, you need to not construct the pedestal first. As a substitute you need to just remember to can really prepare the monkey to juggle the flaming torches,” Duke says.
“As a result of that is the bottleneck. There isn’t any level in constructing the pedestal if you have not found out whether or not or not you possibly can really get the monkey to juggle the flaming torches. That is the unknown. You’ll be able to actually construct a pedestal — in a pinch, you possibly can flip a milk crate the other way up,” she says. “Teller says to deal with the arduous half first, as a result of every little thing else is simply going to create an phantasm of progress.”
Should you can’t clear up for the toughest half, the half with essentially the most uncertainty, there’s no level in doing the rest.
There’s one other drawback with beginning with the pedestal. “The time, effort and cash that you just put into constructing the pedestal begins to create these sunk prices. Now your identification is extra wrapped up in what you are doing — although it isn’t creating true progress — which makes it a lot tougher so that you can really stop when you determine which you could’t get the monkey to juggle these torches,” says Duke. “As a substitute you’ll say, ‘I simply want to do that yet one more factor, I am so near the breakthrough.’”
For an instance that does not contain primates, think about the California high-speed rail system. “The thought was to attach San Francisco and Silicon Valley to LA and San Diego. A $9 billion bond was permitted again in 2008, and the projections on the time have been that it could take about $33 billion to finish by 2020. They permitted some observe between Madera and Fresno, which was the inside of the road on flat land,” says Duke.
“The issue with this strategy is that any observe that you just construct on flat land is, in essence, going to be a pedestal — since you already know which you could construct it. It seems that relating to the California Bullet Prepare, there are literally a few monkeys which can be actually arduous to determine. These monkeys are two mountain ranges: the Tehachapi Mountains and the Diablo Vary’s Pacheco Go,” she says. “And there are large engineering issues to strive to determine the way you blast by means of these mountains in a secure and value efficient approach in order that it is possible for you to to finish the road. It’s 2022 they usually’ve nonetheless hardly constructed any observe. And the most recent price projections are $105 billion, they usually nonetheless haven’t found out how you can clear up for the mountains.”
That is, in fact, an excessive instance, however phrases like “low hanging fruit” are thrown round on a regular basis when constructing merchandise and firms. “Ensure you’re not simply accumulating particles with out really fixing for the arduous factor first,” says Duke.
I haven’t got any drawback with tackling the low hanging fruit. Finally you need to. However you higher just remember to clear up for the bottleneck first. As a result of each little bit of low hanging fruit that you just deal with creates an phantasm of progress and sunk price issues.
Technique #2: Mood your projections by counting on base charges.
“For any particular person founder engaged on an issue, the likelihood of failure is admittedly excessive. There are founders who pound the identical pavement and it simply takes a very long time earlier than they hit gold, versus others who pound the pavement however finally work out that it is not working,” says Duke. And founders are an optimistic bunch. Even when progress has stalled out or the product has but to seek out its footing, it’s straightforward to persuade your self that you just’ll nonetheless be in that choose few, that small group that does go the space.
“The founder is only one particular person caught in their very own perspective,” says Duke. Thus, a lot of her recommendation facilities round broadening that window and pulling in exterior views. One approach is grounding your self in base charges. “Right here’s a easy approach to consider base charges: How typically does one thing occur within the state of affairs that you just’re contemplating?” Duke shares just a few examples:
Inventory market: “How typically, yr over yr, in any given fiscal yr is the inventory market up from the place it began in the beginning of the yr? Relying on the way you calculate it, I consider someplace round 70-75% of the time the inventory market is up. So it doesn’t matter if over the previous 5 years it was up for all of these years. The following yr, it must be up about three-quarters of the time — until one thing vital has modified.”
Valuations. “If the highest SaaS corporations are traditionally valued about 16-20X income, after which unexpectedly there’s one yr the place they’re being valued at 40-60X income, that may be odd in comparison with the bottom price,” she says. “Now, that does not imply that that valuation is unfaithful. It simply implies that one thing must be considerably totally different within the surroundings, like how the valuation for retail corporations was impacted by the shift from brick and mortar to on-line.”
Hurricanes. “It does not make any sense to look traditionally during the last 100 years at both the power or the frequency of hurricanes, as a result of we all know that there are massive, latest shifts in common temperature and the way heat the ocean is, making hurricanes stronger and extra frequent now. And so these base charges would not maintain as a result of one thing vital has modified concerning the world.”
However how is this useful to a founder making an attempt to evaluate their startup’s prospects? “Individuals make predictions and forecasts by fascinated by them in relation to their very own expertise. The bottom price asks you to take an additional step. Have a look at the knowledge you could have, take into consideration the issue you are making an attempt to unravel, after which strive to determine how that typically goes — earlier than you begin to consider your individual expertise. The explanation that you need to do that’s as a result of our perspective on the world is definitely fairly riddled with cognitive bias,” says Duke.
Listed here are just a few of those biases that base charges may help fight:
Availability bias: “For instance, if I have been to ask you to estimate the likelihood of a terrorist assault on U.S. soil, your estimate could be a lot greater than what the precise base price is,” says Duke. “The explanation it simply is that it is simpler so that you can recall, as a result of these issues are typically on the information, and so we take into consideration these as extra frequent than they really are as a result of ease of recall turns into a proxy for our judgments of frequency.”
The planning fallacy. “If I am making an attempt to determine how lengthy a undertaking will take, I are likely to underestimate how lengthy it should take. So I ought to take a look at the bottom price for that.”
The phantasm of management. “We expect we now have extra management over outcomes than we do. That is just like the gambler’s fallacy, the place we expect there is a greater probability of issues occurring than they really will.”
“If we need to really self-discipline these cognitive biases in order that our forecasts, predictions and choices are extra correct, top-of-the-line methods to try this is to look out and see what is going on on on the planet,” says Duke.
“Returning to valuations, I heard lots of people in the summertime of 2021 speaking about how the world is totally different. They have been seeing different founders increase at these loopy valuations. However until there’s some form of paradigm shift, like that Walmart to Amazon shift, wanting up the historic base price for valuations for corporations helps to self-discipline that want that we now have to suppose that one thing particular is happening,” she says. “It is not that one thing particular is not ever happening. However you at the least must disprove that the bottom price wouldn’t maintain in that state of affairs.”
Technique #3: Calculate anticipated worth.
Should you’re weighing whether or not to go away the sector or stick it out in hopes of pivoting your approach by means of, right here’s Duke’s litmus take a look at: Stop when your anticipated worth goes detrimental compared to different issues that you possibly can be doing.
“Once we begin something, there’s some form of anticipated worth which you could calculate. Primarily you possibly can consider it as: Does the upside outweigh the draw back? When the upside is nice sufficient to outweigh the draw back, then we’d say we’re successful to the choice — we’re optimistic in anticipated worth,” she says. “To be clear, this does not imply that the corporate’s by no means going to fail. It implies that in the event you have been to make that call time and again, there could be sufficient upside to compensate for the draw back that is related to it.”
On the flip aspect, when the anticipated worth is detrimental, you should stroll away. “However we will broaden that to different conditions. Say you’re gaining floor to your objective, however there are different issues that you possibly can be doing that are related to much more upside. So then it could behoove you to change to the factor that has much more upside. Stewart Butterfield’s recreation earlier than Slack is the instance right here,” says Duke.
“They have been gaining numerous prospects and doing an enormous advertising push, but it surely seemed like they have been in all probability going to interrupt even inside 31 months, provided that they might maintain the expansion. What Stewart realized was that they might get to a spot the place they have been going to generate profits, but it surely was by no means going to be a venture-scale enterprise. The anticipated worth was most definitely optimistic, but it surely simply wasn’t sufficiently big in comparison with what he felt like he may accomplish.”
Remind your self: Life’s too quick to be engaged on one thing that is not price your time.
Technique #4: Usher in a quitting coach.
“While you’re really going through questions of ‘Am I going to simply throw this product out or am I going to vary my technique?’ it is arduous to get these choices proper. Among the finest methods you possibly can make use of so as to get higher at making these choices to stop is definitely to get someone from the skin that will help you,” says Duke.
“Within the e-book, I speak about Ron Conway, who actually prides himself on teaching founders to stop. Individuals could be stunned as a result of he has clearly helped individuals grit it out, to nice success. However one of many issues he is proudest of is that when he sees that an organization isn’t going to work, he feels an obligation to assist free that founder up to allow them to go work on one thing superb,” she says. “It is arduous for us to get to these choices for ourselves, however we will typically see them fairly nicely from the skin.”
Exterior advisors have a a lot larger knowledge set than a person founder. They’ve entry to the bottom charges, they perceive the reference class. They’ll establish when it’s a useless firm strolling, versus one which’s simply going by means of arduous instances that they’ll push by means of.
“In addition they don’t have the identical sunk price fallacy as a founder who’s been constructing for a yr and a half. So the worth is that they don’t seem to be in it with you,” says Duke. “They’ll see clearly that when you’ve got staff which can be working for little or no money comp and many fairness, that the second that you just decide that fairness is not price their time, you need to allow them to go.”
Technique #5: Set (particular) kill standards.
Should you’re struggling to objectively consider your organization’s approach ahead, lean on this technique: “There’s all types of benchmarks which you could set for your self of what you could see occur inside 1 / 4 inside two or three quarters. These benchmarks turn into what I name kill standards, actually standards for killing a undertaking or altering your thoughts or chopping your losses. Should you miss them, it means you’re going to stop,” she says.
“Should you’re pre-revenue, that may be concerning the product: How are checks going? What’s your means to rent and get different individuals excited? Are you able to inform the story in a compelling approach that will get individuals to need to offer you cash?” says Duke.
“Reviewing these standards on an everyday cadence with an outdoor advisor will assist mitigate your tendency to say, ‘No, I do know I can flip round. I can tweak the messaging or rent a brand new salesperson.’ That is the technique that Ron Conway makes use of: ‘You are an excellent particular person, I’ve little doubt you possibly can flip round. However what does turning it round appear to be inside what time?’ A easy strategy to develop kill standards is with ‘states and dates,” she says. “‘If by (date), I’ve/haven’t (reached a selected state), I’ll stop.’”
Duke takes us by means of an instance of how she would push a founder to get extra particular right here: “Say the benchmark is producing web new ARR — how lengthy would we now have to attend to see that change happen? If it’s an extended gross sales cycle, your tendency as a founder may be to say it’ll take six months. However the advice-giver may say, ‘Effectively, it’d take six months to shut new enterprise, however you have to be seeing modifications on the prime of the funnel if this new salesperson is working. Let’s say that may take a month. What does it appear to be with quantitative knowledge — what are the numbers that we’ll see there?’ Then you possibly can comply with revisit in a month, and in the event you’re not seeing progress, then one thing drastic wants to vary — you then actually do want to consider quitting or pivoting.”
Primarily, you could set up a decent timeline and establish the main indicators prematurely. “What I need to keep away from is it is six months from now they usually nonetheless have not generated new ARR, however they’re telling me once more that they ‘simply must tweak issues,’” she says.
Get to the main indicators and really write down the benchmarks. What are the issues that we’ll see which can be going to inform us that issues have rotated throughout the subsequent month?
You may also apply this strategy at each degree of the corporate. Take this gross sales instance: “Think about that you’re pursuing a gross sales lead that was generated by means of an RFP. It is six months later and also you’ve misplaced the deal. Trying again, you understand there have been early indicators that you weren’t going to win. What have been they?” says Duke. “Perhaps you had just a few conferences they usually could not get a call maker within the room. Perhaps the RFP matched a competitor slightly too intently. Perhaps they only needed to speak about pricing within the first assembly and didn’t even need a demo. They’re in all probability making an attempt simply to make use of you as a stalking horse to beat someone else down on worth,” she says.
“While you’re really within the state of affairs it’s arduous to see it. While you’re in the midst of a deal, you proceed to pursue it and demand which you could nonetheless win. Assembling the standards prematurely may help you see if it’s not a deal that’s price pursuing actively or bringing it additional into the funnel. You’ll be able to have totally different ranges, like automated kills or ones the place you could hunt down additional data earlier than making a call.”
How will you inform you’re making progress in your quitting abilities as a founder? What are the indications that you just’ve taken Duke’s phrases to coronary heart?
“There are some floor indicators. For instance, you’d get environment friendly at letting individuals go who aren’t good suits. As quickly as you begin pondering, ‘Perhaps this particular person is not match,’ you’d sit down with them and work out what you anticipate to see when it comes to turning it round. And you’d then revisit these main indicators in a short time,” she says.
“In a deeper approach, this sort of pondering could be inculturated throughout the firm. While you begin a brand new undertaking, you’d be fascinated by making forecasts, analyzing your choices and giving your greatest guess of what the long run may maintain. You’d be writing these issues down so you possibly can return and revisit the accuracy of these forecasts,” says Duke. “You’d write down your kill standards and make commitments broadly throughout the staff so you possibly can really act on them. Then when you’re in flight, you’d get on an everyday cadence of revisiting these targets.”
To recap, Duke shares some questions for founders to make use of for these check-ins:
Are these targets nonetheless the appropriate targets to pursue, given what we’re making an attempt to realize?
What are the opposite choices? Are there artistic options to what we’re making an attempt to do?
How are we going to seek out out as shortly as doable that the factor that we’re doing is not working?
If I think about it is six months from now and this undertaking has failed, what have been these early indicators or main indicators?
Are we really tackling the bottleneck, or are we retreating into pedestal constructing so as to make ourselves really feel higher?
What does success actually appear to be? What do I anticipate to see occur?
Is that this simply arduous or is it arduous and never worthwhile?