5 Things I Learned about Success from a Cup of Tea

By Andy

February 13, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

A couple of years ago, I talked to you about the sacrifices you’ll have to make to start a business.  Some of you asked me if running a business was all about sacrifice – no, it isn’t. Today, I’d like to talk to you about success. I’ve had a few successes in my life; my recent experiences launching my own tea company have taught me more than any of them.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Some Things Just Can’t Be Rushed

One of the things that fascinates me the most about a cup of tea is that you cannot rush it. If the instructions say the tea needs to steep for 5 minutes, you have to wait – there is no physical way possible (yet) to make it steep faster. It’s a wonderful reminder that for certain events in our life, if we want the good stuff we might have to exercise a bit of patience. And if you have to wait, you might as well enjoy it (in this case, grabbing the tea biscuits and a friend for jovial conversation). Success is similar; sometimes both ourselves and our creations need a little incubation period before they are truly ready for the world, so instead of fighting it, enjoy it.
Going with the Flow Makes Less of a Mess

I love old teapots

– the ones with the big, fancy spouts and the ornate designs. I always have. But, have you noticed that those pots are easy to spill? If you pour too quickly, hot tea spurts from the spout and can easily overshoot your teacup. If you pour too slowly, tea dribbles down the pot. The only way to get the right amount of tea without spilling is to tip the teapot at just the right angle. I think success is similar; sometimes going too slow means we miss opportunities, and going too fast can mean things start breaking. Finding the flow is a key to success – and it takes a bit of experience before you know how to find it.

Opportunities can go cold

– but sometimes you get a second round
Anyone who has picked up a cup of tea that’s been sitting out for awhile knows that cold, stagnant tea doesn’t taste good. Having said that, sometimes a tea can be revived for a second steeping by emptying the cup and pouring a fresh round of hot water. I think opportunities for success can also go cold and stagnant, so it’s important to capitalize on opportunities quickly, after careful assessment. Missed opportunities are just that – missed – but you never know, sometimes you can circle back for a second shot. I’d like to believe that any opportunities that were truly meant to be yours will find their way back to you again.

The Best-Selling Formulas are a Mixture of Little Things

You can drink a cup of tea that is just tea, but the most popular teas (English Breakfast or Earl Grey, for example) are actually a blend of multiple ingredients to create the perfect flavor. Tea blends come in endless combinations and variations, from the simple to the absurd (lemon meringue pie tea, anyone?). While blends are the best-sellers, they still require great ingredients to start with. But they also require figuring out the best way to combine those ingredients – a little more of this, a little less of that, maybe try a pinch of this. Success is similar in this way – it requires good ingredients and mastery of how to put them together in the best way. I speak from experience when I say, practice makes perfect.

You need to know what you want.

The world of tea is quite expansive: it can be hot or iced, it can speed you up or calm you down, it can be a healing herbal blend, a spicy blend, a smooth blend. It kind of seems like tea can do it all. But, tea finds real success when you know what you want from it. Want a decaf evening tea to relax? Grab a sleepy herbal tea. Need a bright morning pick me up? Earl grey is a better option. Peach tea on ice for summer evenings on the patio. See, tea knows it has strengths, but does better when you know what you want. Success is the same way; yes, you can have your cake, eat it, etc. – but when you know what success looks like and feels like, it’s a little easier to find what you’re looking for.


Andy is the founder of Plum Deluxe, the website that helps you create moments that matter, & maker of Plum Deluxe teas <

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