By Wahyu Taufiq
The true entrepreneurs tend to be naturally more optimistic than non-entrepreneurs, sometimes even to the point of over-optimism.
Entrepreneurship involves systematically and continuously taking on risk in the decisions they mostly make. Their chances of succeeding, especially over the longer term, are not easy and depressingly small. While statistics about entrepreneurial success vary, they are all consistent in pointing out how hard it is to succeed.
Seeing the big picture
Entrepreneurship or Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, critical thinking, innovation, service, impact and continuous improvement. “It’s about seeing the big picture and thinking like an owner with big ambition and responsibility. It’s being agile, never resting on your triumphs, shaking off the cloak of complacency and seeking out new opportunities. It’s about taking ownership and pride in your organization.”
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, says: “To me, an entrepreneurial spirit is a way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands.”
According to me personally: Entrepreneurial Spirit is a systematic and constant optimistic, motivated and agile mindset that someone has to be willingly taking calculated risks and be ready to fail and a mindset that likes to solve problems and challenges.
This is a skill many don’t take it seriously. But the truth is, entrepreneurship and professional advancement is tough work. Every day isn’t great. The wins are far less frequent than the losses. And it can be very easy to fall into a state of mind where your day to day is seen as stressful, overwhelming, and a pain.
Optimism isn’t a weakness. Optimism is the state of mind that will give you endurance for the long road ahead.
The ability to be optimistic and positive, even in the face of great obstacles, is not to be undervalued. You’re the one who chose to pursue a path of success. You’re the one who wanted to build something great. You’re the one who chose this life, for yourself. So, don’t look for the bad, the ugly, and the stressful. Instead, look for things to be thankful for: like the fact that you even have the opportunity to pursue what you’re passionate about in the first place.
If you want to make it to the summit, remember this: it’s all in your head.
Optimism will spark creative thinking and it will push you to generate new ideas.
Creative through optimism
Optimistic people tend to be more creative in their thinking. Why?
“The optimistic people tend to naturally think about what the future will look like which allows optimists to distance themselves from negative constraints and approach positive outcomes, creating innovative ideas in their mind.”
Thinking in this way about the future is a good thing if you are an entrepreneur. Research shows that when people are future-oriented (as optimists tend to be) and when they think vividly about distant futures in a positive way (How will the world be like ten years from now? or twenty years from now?), it stimulates all kinds of creative ideas about what such a world will contain, and how we can get there. For entrepreneurs, such a thought process will lead to new ideas for new products, new services, or new businesses having a greater chance of success.
Optimism will make entrepreneurs bounce back after a failure.
As we have seen at the outset, launching a successful new business is very difficult. Even the most competent and lucky entrepreneur will encounter failure at one time or another. What happens after that? As one paper pointed out: “Exploratory and inventive organizational activities … involve high base rates of failure and they call for highly resilient actors who must valiantly persevere for eventual success.”
Optimistic entrepreneurs are resilient in two significant ways. First, they are emotionally more resilient. Where failure normally produces ruminative thoughts about how and why it happened, and what could have been done to avoid it, optimists don’t fall into this trap. Instead, they focus on the task of moving on and starting their next venture. The second type of resilience is cognitive. Thinking positively encourages optimistic people to think more broadly which in turn allows them to be flexible and open to new ideas. They can move on more quickly and to better quality ideas. Pessimists, on the other hand, tend to be narrow-focused in their thinking. While this may be helpful under some circumstances, it will hold you back if you are trying to bounce back from a business failure.
Optimism will lead you to success
There is some emerging evidence that optimism may be linked to the financial success of entrepreneurs. The researchers found that entrepreneurs’ optimism was associated with a greater increase in their company’s profits a year later. Another study argued that “the relationship between optimism and new venture performance may be positive up to moderate levels of optimism” but also found that at excessive levels of optimism, the relationship was negative. From these findings, one thing is clear: If you are an entrepreneur, being optimistic (but not excessively so) provides motivation, emotional fortitude, and cognitive resilience.