While some people are content with a steady job in the 9 to 5 rat race, others dream of one day becoming their own boss. There’s a distinct difference between the employer and the employee, but it’s not always a trust fund or incredible family connections. Sometimes the difference between owner and worker is simply their mindset. But don’t let Hollywood fool you: There’s no such thing as NZT-48, the magical genius pill from 2011 blockbuster movie, Limitless. Pills won’t make you a millionaire. Instead, winning in life is built upon the foundation of success habits and continuous self-improvement.
Think Boldy. Act Quickly.
Entrepreneurs think boldly; they envision with purpose, drive, and intention to pursue. Great ideas alone don’t make a successful entrepreneur. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Instead, the way they hold onto the idea and turn it into a business creates the distinction between dream and reality. For the entrepreneur, their feet never get stuck in cement. The path is rarely ever straight and narrow. It often looks like a heart rate monitor with several ups and downs. But they never lose sight of their ultimate goal.
Risk Over Regret.
Entrepreneurs have the courage to take action. Putting aside your day job to take on a new venture can be a scary undertaking, but entrepreneurs would rather take the risk than think about what could’ve been. Most people know the story of Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike. The multi-billion-dollar business was sparked from an idea in one of Knight’s business classes while attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Knight loved running, so he wrote up a business plan for Japanese running shoes, something that excited him. After graduation, Knight pursued his dream with little cash, no long-term plan, and a lot of people thinking he was crazy. He flew to Japan on a whim to meet with an established shoe producer and came out with a contract after lying about having a pre-existing and stable company back in America. Knight did what he had to do, and after failing more times than he could count, he blew past his competition, creating the brand we know today.
Learn from Failure.
Knight is, of course, part of the 1% that enjoys immense financial freedom, but even so, there are entrepreneurial traits within him that others can identify with. Entrepreneurs keep the focus on their vision but learn from their mistakes and adapt to changes. They bounce back from failure exceptionally well and even welcome it. The philosophy is that if you are not failing, then you are not innovating enough or pushing industry boundaries. Entrepreneurs can accept challenges and are comfortable being uncomfortable. They are not afraid to alter the status quo, think outside the box, and stand out amongst the crowd; but more than anything, they take strategic and methodical action.
Make it a Lifestyle.
Without that initial decision to make the idea come to life, the entrepreneur would not exist. To be successful, you must start. Take the initial action and become engulfed in your dream. That decisiveness provides the undertaker with a freight train full of positive forward momentum. How many people across the world have premature concepts that if developed could change the lives of millions, yet they are too hesitant to pursue them? The difference between people with bright ideas written on dinner napkins and CEOs is not their intelligence, but rather their grit. Successful entrepreneurs take the driver’s seat to their vision and are willing to dive in head first to make it happen despite numerous sacrifices and inevitable hardships.
Fearlessness and Perseverance.
Besides grit, one thing that every entrepreneur who wishes to succeed must have is a no-quit mentality and fearlessness. There will always be someone, or maybe a whole group of people that find flaws in your thinking. But will you believe them? Powerful businesspeople don’t let outside distractions or negative chatter distract them from a goal they believe in. Instead, they welcome criticism and use it to their advantage.
Take FedEx founder, Frederick W. Smith for example. Like Knight, Smith came up with his overnight shipping business plan for a class project while he was attending Yale University. The only difference is that his teacher at the time awarded the idea a ‘C,’ and told him the plan wasn’t feasible. Despite the pessimism, Smith went on years later to create his multi-billion-dollar company and what has now changed the way businesses and individuals ship their goods. Smith had grit, unrelenting drive, fearlessness, and a sturdy backbone. He believed in his vision and used criticism as fuel for meaningful industry change. He even went as far as flying to Las Vegas to gamble off his assets and win back enough cash flow to keep FedEx afloat. While this method isn’t a recommended means of providing cash for payroll, it goes to show that anything is fair game when it comes to keeping the dream alive.
The truth that successful entrepreneurs realize about failure is that it never has to be the end, and sometimes can be the spark they needed all along. Tom Kelley of IDEO famously states, “fail often to succeed sooner,” meaning failure is inevitable and the quicker you take the risks that end up in the trash, the sooner you’ll find the one that thrives. The entrepreneurs that prosper share a mindset that continuously craves improvement. They make informed critical decisions under pressure, they’re okay with stepping out of their comfort zone to make it work, they welcome failures and critiques, but most of all they never let anyone or anything stop them.
Notes: The American Genius episode, Jobs vs Gates is an amazing illustration of what crazy entrepreneurial passion looks like:
This is a guest post by Daniel Joseph, CEO of Cognitune a website about smart drugs, brain supplements, cognitive enhancement tips and cutting-edge information on improving brain health and mental performance.
Also published on Medium.