The Lemonade Principle


Surprises happen all the time, especially when you’re launching a new company. Imagine you’re opening a new hotel, and you’re having an ice-sculpting contest for the tourists, but warm weather turns everything into a puddle! What would you do with that lemon?

Surprises can be pleasant or unpleasant, positive or negative. Most of the time, we can’t predict surprises, and we can’t avoid them, either.

So what we can do? We can choose how to deal with surprises, and that’s what matters.

Professor Saras Sarasvathy has studied successful entrepreneurs. She found out that entrepreneurs don’t let negative surprises derail their ventures. Instead, they use their IMAGINATION and CREATIVITY to turn those surprises into exciting NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

The saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” describes that POSITIVE ATTITUDE. With some water and sugar, you can turn sour lemons into refreshing lemonade.

That’s exactly what entrepreneurs do. Professor Sarasvathy calls that the LEMONADE PRINCIPLE.

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

If you’re like millions of kids who play with Silly Putty, you know how much fun it is to stretch, squish and squeeze it.

But when scientists first created that doughy substance, they thought it was a failure. No one could find any use for it. Then came Peter Hodgson, who saw its POTENTIAL as a fun novelty item. He packaged it in plastic eggs and called it Silly Putty. He made millions of dollars selling it.

In 1968 astronauts aboard Apollo 8 took Silly Putty on their mission to the moon. They used it to secure their tools so that they wouldn’t float away in zero-gravity.

Has life ever given you lemons? How did you turn them into lemonade?