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  1.11. Trap 2: The Hero Trap (6 min.)

Whenever we talk to students, executives, and entrepreneurs about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, we always hear the same list of qualities: passion, determination, vision, and so forth. In many ways they are right - entrepreneurship does require all these qualities. The problem, however, is that when we actually look at startups, we find that passionate, determined, visionary entrepreneurs lead startups to failure more than they lead startups to success.

If you don't believe that passion and determination can lead you into a trap, take the example of Albert Einstein, the most well-known scientist of our generation. When Einstein published his general theory of relativity in 1916, he believed that the universe was static, so he incorporated a "cosmological constant" to make his theory work. Einstein stood doggedly by his theory for several years, rejecting the work of Alexander Friedmann in 1922 and Georges Lemaitre in 1927, which suggested that the universe is expanding.

Finally, in 1929, when Edwin Hubble demonstrated that the universe is expanding, Einstein realized that, in fact, his general theory of relativity actually implied that the universe was dynamic (i.e., expanding). Admitting that the cosmological constant was wrong, he called his dogged determination the "greatest blunder" of his life. In the end, Einstein's conviction that he had all the answers cost him the discovery of a groundbreaking insight - the universe is expanding.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 4-8)