How Entrepreneurs Think Differently And Why You Should Too
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and from all types of background. But despite the physical and cultural differences, there are common traits that they all share. They generally get out of bed early and their drive, passion and enthusiasm for creativity and success can leave those around them breathless. Entrepreneurs are equiped with a different mindset, a gift for lateral thinking and a tenacity that enables them to continue pushing, cajoling and negotiating until their creative vision has become a reality.
Lateral thinking is defined as:
‘A capacity for solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.’
Ingrid Vandervelt, Dell’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence, explains that:
“Entrepreneurs are barrier breakers whose optimistic view of the world, combined with their creative thinking, has the ability to formulate solutions for even the toughest of challenges.”
The following are some ways in which entrepreneurs think differently. Read on and see if you recognise yourself in any of these.
1. Feeling like a kid. Entrepreneurs tend to behave like kids in a sweet store. They buzz with excitement, everything is for the taking and their curiosity for tasting something new can be overwhelming for them. Made By Many’s, Leslie Bradshaw, describes how she thinks and why she prefers the entrepreneurial approach to life:
“I keep my childlike wonderment alive. I approach the world with curiosity, passion, risk tolerance, and faith, just like I did when I was growing up. The more traditional companies I worked for out of college not only didn’t foster these traits, they flat out discouraged them.”
2. Thinking (or perhaps knowing) they can do it better. Innovation presupposes that whatever came before it is ripe for improvement. For entrepreneurs, this assumption is the driving force behind their efforts. Jeremy Johnson, lifelong entrepreneur and co-founder of 2U, puts it aptly:
“An entrepreneur’s train of thought goes like this: ‘Everything around me was invented by someone and that person probably isn’t any smarter than I am.’ We believe almost everything can be improved upon in some way. We start to imagine what could be instead of what is…the world is malleable and many of the rules that exist are more like guidelines.”
3. Ever optimistic. This may seem like an extremely obvious thing to point out, but its importance cannot be overemphasised. Plenty of entrepreneurs exist who have a somewhat negative disposition, but I believe that those who think this way are generally less successful. And two things tend to happen to the negative thinkers: 1) they earn reputations as poor leaders and role models and 2) their businesses eventually erode as a result of their own self-fulfilling pessimistic prophecy.
Being optimistic is, fundamentally, a better way to approach the world. If nothing else, do it for your own sanity.
4. Rule breakers. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, rule breakers and dissenters. This is an attitude as much as it is a mentality. Meredith Fineman, CEO of FinePoint Digital PR, offers an all-too-familiar insight into what goes through the mind of an entrepreneur on a regular basis:
“It’s hard for me to relate to people who can’t wait for the week to be over or can’t wait to rush out of the office for Happy Hour. My job is never done, nor do I want it to be. That’s not to say that I never do things for pleasure, but I am constructing my own life and not constricting it based on someone else’s ideas or standards.”
5. Gear heads. This last point is a direct result of our modern-day reliance on technology as a vehicle for innovation. As Ingrid Vanderveldt observes:
“Technology has been the common denominator for all the companies I have started, from data mining to green energy. I believe it is the global equaliser and enabler. Young entrepreneurs and start-ups need to be focused on (and thinking about) enabling their organisation to scale; delivering faster and more efficient results, and maximising workforce productivity, all of which can be supported through technology.”
So whether you’re considering getting your feet wet as a first-time entrepreneur, or you are well on your way to entrepreneurial success, keep in mind that how you think is just as important as what you actually do. Thinking like an entrepreneur requires a unique approach to the world and a mindset to help view the world as limitless in its possibilities for improvement, change and innovation.
If you did recognise yourself in this article – either in your present activities, or maybe just in your ambitions at this stage – then you’ve probably got what it takes to carve your own niche in the world. But remember one very important rule:
“Life doesn’t give you what you want in your mind, it gives you what you demand with your actions”.
Dedicated to your success,
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