Einstein said: “You can’t solve your problems with the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” In other words, you are where you are because you think like you think.
Descartes, the famous French philosopher, said, “Cogito ergo sum.” It means, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes meant that as a statement that our reasoning ability proves that we exist. But Descartes only got it half right. Instead of “I think, therefore I am,” the truth is “I think, therefore I do.”
What does this have to do with thinking like an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurs think differently than most other people, and therefore they “do” differently than other people.
I believe that an entrepreneurial mind is a real asset whether or not you ever build a business. If you’ve read anything by John Gatto, you already understand that the thinking behind traditional schooling methods and operations is to create a compliant, dependent, “don’t think for yourself” mentality.
This means all of us parents who were public or private schooled were trained in that mentality, so we can’t help but pass it on to our children in our own home schooling.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned Einstein and Descartes. You’ve probably heard of them, but have you ever heard of Napoleon Hill?
Hill interviewed most of the highly successful people of his day and found 16 characteristics of success. One of these was what Hill called “The Entrepreneurial Mind.”
Some people call it “BE – DO – HAVE.” This means you have to be what it takes in order to do what it takes to have what you want. This type of thinking is the reason multi-millionaires like Donald Trump can lose it all and come back with even more. In fact, if you read the stories of highly successful entrepreneurs, they often lose everything and get it all back several times.
The important thing when it comes to success is that you get the foundation, which is the THINKING of success. The rest of it is just learning different skills. But the skills are useless without the thinking.
8 Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mindset
1. Entrepreneurs believe that the universe is rigged in their favor. What this means is that you have a firm grasp that God’s intention is to bless you. The literal meaning of “blessing” is “empower to prosper,” so you must believe that God’s intention is for you to prosper. A corollary to this belief is that you live in a world of abundance with unlimited opportunities. This means that there are amazing opportunities in every circumstance. It also means that everything that happens, happens in order that you may ultimately prosper. (I can hear you thinking: “But wait. Aren’t there only a limited number of pieces of the pie?” The answer is “No. There are plenty of pieces of pie to go around.”)
2. Entrepreneurs believe that they are the power, the creative force in their own lives. (“Hey, wait. God is the only source of power in the universe.” That’s right, but didn’t Jesus say you had been given all that power? And didn’t Paul say that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you?) The Entrepreneurial Mindset doesn’t see yourself as the victim of circumstances, so it doesn’t make excuses for not living the life you dream about living. Here’s some good news and some bad news for you. First the bad news. You create your own reality. So whatever life you’re living now, you created. Now the good news. You create your own reality. This means if you don’t like the life you’re now living, you can change it.
3. Entrepreneurs see risk as a normal part of living life. Most people play not to lose and base their decisions on fear of loss or fear of failure, so they play their hand in a way that minimizes loss. Entrepreneurs have fear, but they don’t live out of their fear, they live out of their dreams. They play to win instead of playing not to lose.
4. Entrepreneurs view themselves as separate from their work or even from their own lives.Entrepreneurial thinking doesn’t hold on tightly to opinions, ways of doing things, their own ideas, etc. Entrepreneurs don’t confuse success or failure with who they are as people. Because they don’t view failure as meaning anything personally about themselves, they can use failure as a stepping-stone to success. Success becomes an “intended outcome,” failure just becomes an “unintended outcome” that they can learn from.
5. Entrepreneurs question everything, even themselves. An entrepreneur never settles for “That won’t work” or “…because that’s the way it’s always been done.” Entrepreneurs look for a way to make it work.
6. Entrepreneurs highly value learning, not just education. Real learning equips you to do what you want to do. Entrepreneurs consider learning one of their primary investments, and particularly value the ability to be mentored by others more successful than themselves. So they don’t look at buying books or training programs or mentoring opportunities as costly, they see them as investments in their future success.
7. Entrepreneurs believe that what matters to them, matters. Entrepreneurs view pursuing what matters to them as OK, not as being selfish. They believe that if they care about something, that makes it important enough to do something about.
8. Entrepreneurs can move in and out of life frames as needed. They are able to look at things close-up and see all the details, but not get so enmeshed in the details that they can’t see the big picture. But they don’t get so caught up in the big picture that they don’t pay attention to the details.
So why don’t we automatically think this way? Because we’re trained not to. All those objections that popped into your head as you read the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mind are objections that have been put there by either your schooling, your family, your friends, your church, or some other influences in your life.
How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mind in Your Children
How do we develop an entrepreneurial mind? Remember, not one of the successful business people who Napoleon Hill interviewed was born with the characteristics of success—they developed them.
The best way to develop an entrepreneurial mind is to learn from those who already have one. Read, read, read and learn how entrepreneurs think. Try to find mentors who are successful in the areas in which you want to be successful, and either work for them for free or pay them to mentor you. Copy what others who are successful think and do. Go where entrepreneurs hang out, like conferences and seminars.