Here’s The Advice The Atari Founder Gave To A Young Steve Jobs – Nolan Bushnell in Inc.

Holding on to your convictions in the face of mediocrity can help turn the naysayers into believers.

Naysaying has always been an epidemic of sorts. The majority of people, if asked to vote, would vote on mediocrity. You might wonder why someone would freely choose mediocrity. The simple answer is this: they can’t see far enough into the future to imagine anything besides what they already know. Thus, they are stuck in the present without vision or the motivation to leave it. To break this mold, you need a strong sense of conviction, even amid a sea of naysayers. That’s the advice I gave Steve Jobs when he worked for me many years ago, and it’s the same advice I give young entrepreneurs today.  Here are two ways to ensure your conviction is in tact as you grow your business.

Courage to push against the tides

Some say entrepreneurs are an unreasonable bunch, and the fact is they have to be. If they were reasonable, they’d be like the rest of society. And the world would end up in the modern dark ages. You need someone to shake things up every now and then. Reasonable people aren’t capable of that because it doesn’t make sense. Going against the popular opinion and thought of the day takes immense courage. People mocked the great innovators for having dreams too big for the comprehension. Louis Pasteur. Albert Einstein. Thomas Edison. These men didn’t pick a fight to convince anyone. They just stuck by the convictions of what they believed was possible. And they succeeded. And the masses believed.

Initiative and inspiration to go when the world says stop

The world doesn’t generally reward initiative that pushes against the flow — until it succeeds. The dark valley times are when it’s time to find the inspiration within yourself to reach for the dream. No one else is going to give you kudos and applause. No one else is going to give you reason to press on. If you have a conviction that something is possible, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. For all of history, they’ve been wrong. Man did go to the moon. Air travel is possible. Disease can be cured.

History has been one long process of innovation and change, and as long as a few individuals have the courage to stand apart, it will continue long into the future. As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to have a sense of conviction that allows you to weather the naysayers and bring your innovation to the masses. Hold on to your conviction. It’s what I told Steve Jobs decades ago, and it’s what I tell many entrepreneurs today.