So You Think You Can Be An Entrepreneur?

Zaid Khan

2 mins

There is so much more than what meets the eye when it comes to the world of entrepreneurship. The cracks are all hidden behind the camera, you’re given no script, no directions and all eyes are on you. You want to break all barriers and prove your haters wrong while you just want to make your friends and family proud. And there might not be a retake. You just have to keep going, beyond your mistakes and it’s do or die every single day. Entrepreneurship is a game of mentality.

A study by the Harvard Business School recognised 5 common traits the entrepreneurs possess right from their elementary education :-

  1. Openness to experience - Describes an individual's creative, intellectually curious, imaginative and experimental nature.
  2. Conscientiousness - Reflects the tendency to be responsible, organized,   hard-working and to be more goal and task oriented.
  3. Extraversion - Speaks to the person's energetic approach towards life. They enjoy being with people, participating in social gatherings and also possess a sense of positive emotionality.
  4. Agreeableness -  Reflects the tendency toward altruism, cooperation and empathy. Such people during times of conflict, will seek to resolve rather than prolong confrontation.
  5. Neuroticism - People with high neuroticism show signs of emotionality, such as feeling anxious, nervous, sad, and tense. Entrepreneurs score less in neuroticism and are more emotionally stable - they are more often than not very calm, level-headed, and optimistic.

In spite of personality trait based classifications, corporate organisations & institutions fail to recognise these traits hidden behind their heap of processes & structures. They try and push performers in general to try harder or achieve better grades. Without realising that their intrinsic motivations might be skewed against the herd processes. And that’s usually the inflection point for an entrepreneur to branch out independently into the world, either after a cushy corporate job or straight after an education institution that failed to recognise and nurture the mindset.

But the moment you enter the world of entrepreneurship, with an idea or while trying to set up your venture, there’s little experience you have about the challenges and opportunities that can unfurl. While easy to say, it’s not always possible to learn from the visionaries and successful businessmen, because geographical mindsets, venture ideas, social pressures, financial stability and individual acumen vastly differ. And so a first time entrepreneur needs to make his own mistakes and learn from them.

Once you start your venture, right from having conversations with prospective customers or while hiring your first team member, there’s immense sub-conscious pressure on your performance and your productivity just cannot drop. This probably arises from the society around, the expectation to get everything right, every single time is very high. There’s no rehearsal, no script or no preparedness for any situation. You are the last line of defense for almost everything thrown at you.

It’s like a LIVE World Cup Final - there’s no scope for a retake.

You gotta give it all you have, every single day, every single time. At the end of the day only the winner takes it all.

And that pressure to perform, while protecting the sanctity of your vision, is brutal. It either teaches you to fail and get back up on your feet, or it breaks you to not want to go any further. And that’s where mindset kicks in. The relentlessness it asks for, is like a gaping pit. You have to learn how to fly on your way down.

The ones who have the right mindset to take on challenges, succeed. And the definition of success is vastly different for every entrepreneur. Smaller instances of daily life that help you get better than who you were yesterday, is what you get used to. And that’s what most entrepreneurs silently thrive on. It’s like an addiction you get out of these micro-instances of success. And then it becomes a habit. There’s enough literature on how ‘winning’ is a mindset and plays a huge role in individual success. But in spite of scientific data and business successes, there’s little that one gets exposed to during early days of childhood, about entrepreneurship. It’s almost as if you have to stumble upon it in life and preserve hard to stay out there, amidst all the eyeballs looking at you, for your next move.

But it’s this adrenaline rush that most entrepreneurs get, from performing with all eyes on them, that sails them through.

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