Different game, different rules

Couple of years ago, I reached out to a smart person to see if he wanted to invest in a friend's startup. 

His response was quick and confident. 

"I don't invest in seed startups. It’s not a great asset class unless you have some systemic advantage like y combinator. But I appreciate your offer." 

He is right. Most early stage startups fail. To win in early stage investing, you need to invest in large number of promising companies, so that a few of them can 100X and pay for all the rest. In order to do that, you need deal flow, enough capital, or a different way to pursue a portfolio approach. 

The broader lesson is to first recognize when you are drawn into playing a different game in business or life, then step back and understand the nature of the game, what's needed to win that game, and decide whether you can and want to develop the skills and advantages to play and win the game.