“You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” – Homer Simpson
Would you take advice from Homer Simpson? Neither would I. The first lesson you need to learn is that to be successful at anything, you need to try your best (and fail miserably) over and over again until you get it right. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are the most prepared to fail, perhaps many times.
Innovation and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand. Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors of all time, designed approximately 10,000 prototypes for the light bulb before developing the one that worked. How many times have you tried to turn an idea into reality only to produce nothing – and how many times are you willing to try again?
The secret is to act like an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs share certain character traits that can be harnessed by anyone, so if you’re looking to have a future in business entrepreneurship, what better way to start then to act like one? Here are 5 good habits that are practiced by successful entrepreneurs:
If you don’t listen, how do you expect to learn anything? Surprisingly, most people really don’t listen at all – instead, they have a little running commentary going on in their head while they’re pretending to listen to someone. If you spend an entire conversation having a discussion with yourself in your head, you could miss the whole argument being presented and any good information that might be useful to you.
- Question yourself.
Believing in yourself is an important part of business entrepreneurship, but you have to ask yourself why you believe in yourself. For every strong opinion you have, try playing the devil’s advocate and see if it stands up to the test. Suggest to yourself all the reasons why you may be wrong. If you change your own mind, you’ve learned something, and if you don’t then at least you’ve strengthened your own resolve.
- Be curious.
Even if you’re not naturally inclined to be a curious person, curiosity is an extremely useful tool in the successful entrepreneur’s arsenal. Pick up the habits of curious people: ask relevant questions, Google a subject you’ve just heard about, question people when something isn’t clear. No matter how irrelevant the subject may seem, you’re bound to expand your knowledge.
- Identify the heart of every matter.
Even for those concepts and philosophies that you couldn’t possibly buy into and couldn’t possibly see yourself applying to your own methods or goals, you need to ask yourself why some people think this way. Every idea, no matter how elaborate, has some kernel of truth inside of it, some concept that may have been twisted but which at its heart is true. If you understand why people think a certain way, then you can also understand how to change their mind.
- Don’t shoot the messenger.
We all have our own biases, but don’t let those biases cloud your judgment. If you’re not giving somebody’s argument the time of day purely because there’s something you don’t like about that person, you could be shutting yourself off from valuable information. If anything, somebody who you don’t get along with is likely to be exposed to different information on an everyday basis than the people you have more in common with. Make an effort to hear every argument objectively.
Knowledge is a bottomless well, and your desire to dig deeper should be bottomless too, and should always outweigh your desire to be right. The world is transforming; new ideas pop up every day and incorporating them into your life will keep you engaged and relevant. These methods work for successful entrepreneurs from the very beginning to the very end of their careers.
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