Imagine a desperate man making his way on foot through a desert. Exhausted and thirsty beyond endurance he keeps driving himself forward, day by day, in the hope of reaching an oasis. Eventually, he can go no further and drops hopelessly to the hot sand. Rescuers discover his body only a half day’s walk from a large oasis.
Let’s rewind and replay the story with the same man. Except in this version, he knows exactly where the oasis is located. In this account, when he reaches the place where he gave up and died in the first story, he is exactly as exhausted and just as madly thirsty. Yet he does not give up and die. Why? Because he knows that redemption lies just over the next sand dune, a half-day away. Knowing—not hoping or believing, but knowing—that redemption is near endows us with superhuman powers. The mere knowledge that the oasis is near endowed this man with the power to overcome the heat and thirst.
It is hard to build a business. Urgent need for capital can entirely wear down even the hardiest entrepreneur. Gnawing worry morphs into fear that he won’t find the funds, diminishing the effectiveness of most business professionals in this unenviable position.
Compare that situation with an entrepreneur who is grappling with precisely the same pressures except that he knows that his next round of financing is happening in three weeks’ time. The knowledge that redemption is round the corner endows this human with astonishing powers.
Then there is the married couple struggling to hold their marriage together. One day he is doing his best while she feels it all to be futile; another day she is willing to move mountains in the hope of saving her marriage while he has emotionally checked out. As any counselor knows, the odds of a successful salvage are slim.