Perhaps a couple more people will agree that entrepreneurship is not a job, it is a lifestyle. It is about a way of living that is more conducive to creating value than consuming it. Aside from overworking yourself and chowing down $1 pizzas and processed food between projects, the daily patterns of entrepreneurs actually offer different perspectives on life, that I argue, eventually help one live life better by capturing its fullest potential.
Here are some of the points that I think are worth noting:
Don’t just want, be ambitious about making things happen
This is the first difference between those who pursue entrepreneurship and many who don’t. Everybody wants things – one wants a car, wants to rid the world of corruption, wants a better apartment, wants a more equal society, wants to run a restaurant instead of being an engineer, wants to go running everyday instead of working ten hours a day, and the list goes on.
Entrepreneurs want things too, the only difference is that entrepreneurs want things badly enough that they see no alternative other than spending most of their days making what they want happen. Whatever entrepreneurs can’t do right now, they are looking to build conditions to make the option viable tomorrow.
Choosing what you want to focus on instead of deciding what you want to do
I think it’s an understatement to say that most people leave school not knowing what they want to do. One quality I observed in entrepreneurs even when we were in schools together, is that entrepreneurs being so ambitious, they had a long list of things they want to do or become, even when they were kids. When they got out of school, the problem they faced is choosing which to focus on, instead of squeezing out a decision because time is up. That is the difference.
If we on average live for 80 years, not knowing what you want to do at the age of 22 means you’ve wasted more than a quarter of life just making a decision. It’s even worse if you end up doing something you hate until you are brave enough to decide something for yourself. Can you imagine taking 25% to 50% of project time just to decide what the project is supposed to be?
What you choose to do or choose to believe are due to a lack of more convincing options
It sounds pessimistic, but entrepreneurs are almost never content with the state of affairs. They chose to go with an option or believe what they believe because they could not find better alternatives at the time. Sure, committing to an idea shows you have conviction, but thinking that the idea is the best one you can have, or the right one is a way to weigh yourself down with stubbornness.
Keeping an open mind is what keeps your days exciting and worth looking forward to. Entrepreneurs very rarely wake up to a day the same as the one before it, because when it is, it is time to open up to more challenges.
Spend when you need to
There are nothing more expensive than the lack of better tools to solve problems, unhappy teammates and friends, or simply wasting time.
Don’t waste your money on buying things you don’t need, but if something is worth it to you or people you care about it, instead of holding on to your money you should be holding on to your relationships.
Don’t lose your judgment to relative prospect
A common mistake, as pointed out by the Prospect theory is that our real judgment of value is skewed relatively. For example, if you are worth $10,000 making an additional $100 is a huge deal to you, but to someone worth a million, the option is less attractive.
A win is a win, and a loss will always be a loss. The truth is that even as you grow more successful, you should not forget the fact that is it every bit of money, work or relationship that you invested in that slowly built up to what you are today. You should always avoid the habit of dismissing something because it is too small to be bothered with for who you are now.
You are never just one thing, what we believe of ourselves become who we are
People like to draw lines and create categories. It is tempting to designate who we are, what we do and what we don’t do. And that is bizarre to me. Many people who are non-dancers never really danced before; many tone-deafs never practiced singing pitches; some believe that since they are into the numbers they can’t be artistic; and some believe that they naturally can’t handle science and math.
Often times, what we believe of ourselves are more indicative of what we become than our natural and trained abilities. When we believe that we are all isotopes of half a dozen elements, we are specializing our skill sets and our means of perception.
Why does it matter? Because most professional work is specialized, but entrepreneurship is general and dynamic. Entrepreneurship is about receiving signals on all frequencies, and finding the right people to do the job. When there isn’t one, well, be ready to roll up the sleeves.
In fact, very few business ideas are composed of only one specialization. Whether it is streaming music, subscription of beauty product samples, online advertising or e-learning, almost everything is a melting pot of some sort.
The truth is that every person is never just one thing. We partake in different activities on a daily basis and almost all of us have enjoyed artistic as well as the scientific aspects of our daily lives from time to time. When we selectively filter out certain signals and refuse to understand them, we risk becoming dull, unimaginative and irrelevant.
Failure has uncontrollable aspects, defeat doesn’t
As people, we fail at things all the time, that we cannot control; but whether or not we let these failures stop us from reattempting, that is totally up to us to decide.
The only difference between work and play is whether or not you get paid
Growing up, I remember my parents and all the people around me often invoke the phrase “well you aren’t going to like it but one day you will have to work”, and that stuck with me, until I decided to start something my own.
Work may not always be fun, but that’s different from being stuck with something that you have chronic disagreements with. If you wake up everyday and think that you’re only going to work for the money, well, that really sucks.
Entrepreneurs do what they do to create things they want. In other words, entrepreneurs try to get paid for doing what they love to do. Of you love play, and you want to spend more of your time doing what you love, think about how you can create value that others are willing to pay for.