Conviction. a firmly held belief or opinion.

Conviction is critical to building. It's critical to creation. To founding.

But how does one build conviction?

Born this way

There's a spectrum. Some people just have it. They see it, they move forward and knock everything down. RJ Scaringe exemplifies this. He founded Rivian over the course of ... decades. It's all that he ever wanted to do.

I don't know about you, but I'm not like that. I've got more interests, I like many things.

find a big challenge

Find a big challenge, something that's going to stretch you. That was my experience writing The Definitive Guide. It was pure conviction to get it done. To prove it to myself.

The market was there, it was just execution.

That, for me, was worth doing.

But then you get into opportunity cost

You can find a big challenge but the issue is "will it be worth it in the end." That is the hard thing about finding challenges. You can find them but you won't know if they'll be "worth it".

So you delay. You put it off. you think about it more.

Conviction is scale dependent

Conviction is somewhat scale dependent.

Small project, small conviction. Big project, big conviction.

It's almost easier to have big conviction than small conviction because small conviction is just "a good idea". Small conviction... well it's not conviction.

Building conviction

That leads us to a process. How do you build conviction?

Building conviction is stepwise. It's tricking yourself into doing linear or stepwise acts in order to build exponential momentum.

I can't remember where I heard it, but apparently in the early days Taylor Swift replied to thousands of fan mails. She engaged her community. That's building conviction and building something larger and doing it in a way that doesn't scale.

So back to building conviction. That's the emphasis on doing things that don't scale, that builds conviction. Building conviction is all about building towards the next milestone, curiosity to see the other side. It's blocking on the looming problem with the immediate one.

Put energy locally, do your 'big picture analysis' then just do the work. Step by step.

In other words, conviction is exhaust. It's not input. It's output.

Do the work, get conviction. Conviction fuels the next milestone. Do the work, get conviction. To the next milestone. Rinse. Repeat.