written by
Srinivas Rao

Gareth Pronovost: How to turn Little Bets Into Big Success

3 min read

These are cliff notes from an episode of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast

These 2 interviews provide a sneak-peak into Srini’s and Gareth's friendship and many other topics we love: entrepreneurship, taking risks, taking an unconventional path, finding the time for important people in our lives and so much more. My favorite takeaways from both parts are summarized for you.

1. Many of us were trained in childhood to follow the linear life trajectory, be compliant, check all the boxes to achieve success. Gareth proposes a different approach based on his experience. Instead of following the linear pathway try forging your own path and make small bets and risks and see what happens. Life is much more fun and engaging that way.

2. The way we are raised impacts the way we perceive the world and create prejudices that may not serve us well. The first step to change those patterns is raising awareness about our automatic way of thinking.

3. Gareth had a major car accident at a young age. From that experience, he learned resilience, transience, and also who his true friends are. This experience helped him deal with an incredibly difficult situation later on when his former wife died and he became a single dad. Resilience is a transferable skill.

4. Gareth mentions the school award for the most improved student which is looked down upon (that means that your performance was so bad that you could only improve). But is it really that bad? We should not be celebrating our successes as much as we should celebrate lessons learned and how much we have improved in comparison to our former selves.

5. This interview is a testament to friendship. Big ideas that stand out are the idea of the important role friendship plays in our lives and the need to find time and energy for people you care about on a regular basis.

6. Through several examples from his life, Garett illustrates the importance of trying something new even if it fails, using that information to move forward, and trying again. It is extremely unlikely that you will stumble on your big idea after a single attempt so it’s important to plant the seeds of possibilities and learn consistently.

Entrepreneurs must have two opposite traits: trust in themselves even if it’s against the odds and rationality. The true art is knowing how to balance them and when to use more of which one.

7. When speaking about his entrepreneurial endeavors, Gareth uses the word hypothesis- just like in science. The process of trying and failing should be associated with no emotional attachment because if our hypothesis fails, it does not tell anything about ourselves, only about the hypothesis.

8. In creative work, we can more easily mix up our self-worth with the results of our work and perceive failures more personally. It is hence important to practice detachment.

9. Regarding emotional relationships, finding the right person for marriage requires looking into different qualities than for dating. Earlier in life, our priorities may revolve around having fun but later we should care more about less transient traits.

10. This conversation also touched upon the future of the work. Regular 8-hour workdays were based on the industrial economy and work in factories. Technology and work have changed substantially, yet our ideas of how the work should look like largely stayed the same. Technology enables us to automate many of the mind-numbing work tasks that we do and free up time and mental energy for better things.

11. Gareth's business is consulting on the use and integration of Airtable and Zapier to automate repetitive tasks. He shared an excellent example of how he created a system for his daughter’s chores. The key principle is that you invest some time upfront to create the system and, since you don’t have to do the same tasks again, you save a ton of time in the future.

12. Gareth had many ups and downs in his career and it was interesting to discuss how his perspective on money and wealth shifted with these changes. One interesting lesson he had to learn as his business grew was to invest in other people, gather the expertise from others, and build a strong team.

13. To be unmistakable, according to Gareth, you must be resilient and willing to get up after the failure again and again and figure things out. Others would not be able to do it then the same way that you did and your path will be hard to replicate and thereby unmistakable.

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