I know few who watch reality TV for the reality. Most people certainly don’t tune into Survivor because they expect to land on a desert island one day and need some practical tips. People watch for the drama, the cathartic experience. It’s fun to see and vicariously feel what people will do and say in extreme situations without a script or enough sleep. “Reality” TV puts interesting people under intense pressure in weird situations, and that’s where the reality actually shows up.
Shark Tank, which lines up aspiring entrepreneurial chum to pitch a panel of high-profile investors, has that same emotional appeal. That said, there are many real-world lessons to be gained, especially for people in business. There’s plenty of reality in that TV! Clearly, no matter which wannabe walks out with cash, it’s the sharks who get fed. So if you are a fan, and you concentrate on watching the sharks instead of the fish, you can pick up some fascinating insights. There are lessons on everything from focus to individuality, and failure to passion.
Here’s what the sharks of Shark Tank have said about how not to sleep with the fishes.
On The Right Attitude
- “The best way to get past doubt and inexperience is simply action.” – Robert Herjavec
- “Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.” – Mark Cuban
- “Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist–while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!” – Lori Greiner
On Being Different
- “Most great entrepreneurs I know are nothing like the other kids. They’re almost like tangent lines – those lines that seem to go nowhere. Nothing connects them until they get out in the real world. Then they connect just fine.” – Barbara Corcoran
- “When looking at trends I always ask myself basic and timeless questions about business, and the one I seem to always come back to is, ‘How is this different than anything else in the marketplace?'”– Daymond John
- “You only stay in front by coming up with ideas your new competitors haven’t thought of yet.” – Kevin Harrington
- “All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected. I knew the power of getting past no.” – Barbara Corcoran
- “It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban
- “When I had challenges, it taught me to be more on top of it for the future. Things go wrong all the time when you are running your own business, but it’s how you perceive it and deal with it that matters.” – Lori Greiner
- “Tough times never last; tough people always do.” – Robert Herjavec
- “I don’t think anybody ever started a great business because they wanted to make a little more cash. They had a dream. They wanted a better life.” – Robert Herjavec
- “Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.” – Mark Cuban
- “You don’t have to raise millions of dollars to be successful, you just have to work on something you are passionate about.” – Nick Woodman
- “I don’t believe that old cliché that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can’t sit still.” – Ashton Kutcher
On Other People
- “My partners … taught me that to create wealth, I needed to pair up with people whose strengths compensated for my weaknesses.” – Kevin O’Leary
- “Align yourself with the right people, forge the right relationships and you’ll set yourself up for the long run.” – Daymond John
- “I like to invest in people that I like to hang with.” – Robert Herjavec
- “Treat your customers like they own you. Because they do.” – Mark Cuban
- “Management philosophy: Pay attention to the vital few and ignore the trivial many. I could go insane if I obsessed over every little detail of all my companies.” – John Paul DeJoria
- “Whatever you pay attention to grows!” – Kevin O’Leary
- “You become what you think about the most.” – Daymond John
- “A goal without a timeline is simply a dream.” – Robert Herjavec
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.