How to Think Like an Entrepreneur

To be an entrepreneur you must first change your routine and be open to taking risks.

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Entrepreneurs greatly influence our society with their innovation, creativity, flexibility and risk taking. They question the status quo and are typically more adaptable than the rest of us. An entrepreneur may fail many times, but they seem to just keep on trying, and this determination ultimately leads to breakthroughs. Discipline and optimism energizes and allows them to persist in pursuing their goals.  

A careful analysis of how entrepreneurs think may teach us all something about how to stay relevant, get noticed and make a difference in any industry.

Dove Press, an open-access peer-reviewed scientific and medical journal, reported fascinating insights about the neuroscience (brain cortical organization) in entrepreneurs. Decision-making is a key aspect of their skills and they tend to be more novelty-seeking and self-directed. They also show exploratory excitability, impulsiveness and optimism, plus they're more eager.

Entrepreneurs are best known for thinking outside of the box and are admired for being wildly creative. They can make predictions about disparate life experiences and changes in technology and connect the dots. Entrepreneurs aren’t motivated or concerned about approval, but they do look for feedback. So how do all of these traits apply to the rest of us?

It boils down to a few qualities that every person can practice and implement daily to have breakthroughs.

1. Stop worrying about what others think and develop yourself. Just as every entrepreneur is different and inspired by different challenges, so is the ordinary person. Every entrepreneur is distinctive in his or her contribution, and their innovation comes from an intense drive to follow through on beliefs. Every person has the potential to make a unique contribution somewhere.

When a person becomes dejected, stuck or just bogged down with an old routine, it may be a sign to re-evaluate his or her way of doing things and to try implementing something new. This may be taking on a new activity, breaking an old habit or taking a risk by trying a new action or behavior.

There’s no one way that’s right for every person who wants to have a breakthrough, but every person can make a positive shift. By staying open-minded, taking what you do seriously, seeking feedback about your goals, remaining optimistic and having an unwavering passion for improvement along with a sincere will to change. Even a small amount of effort can lead to huge results if it’s directed in the right area.

2. Break yourself of your old typecast and try on a new hat. Envision the person who you want to become and use imagery to see yourself as this person.

Try a new activity, learn a new skill, challenge yourself in a way that you haven’t before. Opening oneself up to new activities can lead to major breakthroughs. Here are a few suggestions for creating newness in your life:

  • Take an art class
  • Go on a hiking trip in the mountains
  • Try tai chi
  • Learn a second language
  • Attend lectures on a topic that challenges your biases
  • Subscribe to TED Talks and listen to one per day
  • Study an opera
  • Go to classes offered at your local museum
  • Take a computer class to learn how to code
  • Try Zumba, kick boxing, hot yoga or strength training
  • Take some risk that in the past you've avoided
  • Ask your crush out on a date
  • Try adventurous activities with knowledgeable, experienced guides

3. If you’re already doing many or some of these activities, your challenge might be to slow down. Try taking one day off per week from your standard regimen. See what it feels like to strictly focus on family and friends for a day, eliminating distractions like your TV, phone, iPad and laptop.

Breakthroughs often come more easily when a person is off the grid, which allows for quiet time to think. Taking a walk alone in the park or just sitting in a quiet room with no other distractions allows the mind time to rest in an active state. This kind of rest can be restorative and may re-energize a person for creativity and breakthroughs.

The goal is to break oneself from the mindset that who you are today is who you’re permanently meant to be. Change is possible for anyone who truly desires it. Committing oneself to a new activity helps jump start an entrepreneurial mindset that change is possible. Once you’ve tried at least one new activity – or taken a break from too many activities – you’ve begun the process of disrupting a static mindset.

To think like an entrepreneur, you need to first change your routine and be open to taking a risk that comes with change. Challenging yourself by altering your routine may stimulate a new dimension in your personality to shine through. Trying a new routine can free up your mind for more creativity and allow you to enjoy new facets of life that you never new existed.