The Battle of Julu


When I first read Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, I stumbled on the fascinating story of General Xiang, a courageous Chinese general from more than 2,000 years ago.

“Who was General Xiang, and what does he have to do with online business,” you ask?

In 207 BC, General Xiang advanced the small Chu army towards Julu to wage war against the huge Qin army. After crossing the river, he had his troops burn the ships and destroy all but 3 days of supplies, which successfully eliminated any chance of retreat.

Since the Chu army of 30,000 was about to fight the Qin Army of 300,000, you might think Xiang was crazy. However, the results tell a different story. Xiang’s army won nine consecutive battles, and then opposing Qin army surrendered.

What happened here? The theory is, since the Chu army had no other option, they had to win and their fighting demonstrated it. In other words, they put all their eggs in one basket and watched that basket.

Online, it’s no different. When you’re getting started, working on several projects sounds good. However, the odds are against you. Many more people fail at creating a profitable online business than succeed. If you want to be one of the few who do succeed, you’ll need that laser focus you develop when you have no other option. So, focus on one project at a time.

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