As far back as I can remember, I have always searched for answers to the many questions about how to improve the quality of my life. During my younger years I had doubts about unquestioningly accepting the idea that in order to be a satisfied individual, one has to act in a way defined by a certain group of people. For example, as a student, it was expected that I should bring home good grades and follow the given curriculum at school. Something did not sound quite right about this—why should I memorize formulas and definitions, read boring books, and obey the teachers without question? As early as I can remember, I did not comply with these expectations. I did not want to believe that the person I can become, the person that I want to become, only depends on other people or perhaps blind fate. Sometimes I wondered who were the people that determined the educational standards. For example, what criteria did this group of people follow to prepare the final exams program?
Perhaps their intentions were noble, however, when I analyzed the effects of such programs, I understood that our minds are much too complex to impose upon us what we should learn or do in order to make our lives useful and valuable.
We are born with a natural need for development. This can be best seen in children who are eager to absorb anything new and look for inspiration in an intuitive way. And how joyful and happy they are then! Some of us retain this way of learning about reality throughout our lives… unfortunately, only some of us.
This is where important questions arise:
What happened to this inborn curiosity about the world?
Why do so many of us blindly follow common, generally accepted, so-called truths about life and its principles that inhibit development?
Sometimes we may hear sayings such as:
“what cannot be cured, must be endured.”
“when it rains it pours.”
“life is not a fairy tale.”
“you cannot fight against destiny.”
“you have to accept your fate.”
“such is life and nothing can be changed.”
What do you think of such beliefs?
If you want to become an effective entrepreneur, now is the right time to think about such things.
Moving on, let’s ask other questions. Is it possible that a person’s life can depend so little upon themself? For example, if someone comes from a small village or a poor family, does it mean they have no future prospects and are condemned to a poor quality life? What do you think? What is your opinion about this? And what do you think about the phenomenon of the so-called tyranny of authority? Have you ever heard of such a thing? The opinions of people who are considered educated are readily accepted by some people because the words of an authority figure (teacher, scientist, journalist, etc.) “must be” the one and only truth. Is it possible to accept such “truths” without criticism and rely on them instead of looking for one’s own solutions? Is it possible to distinguish between true authority and these pseudo-authorities without thinking about and verifying their words? The views of these so-called authority figures which are taken “by faith” are a strong driving force, however, a force that often leads astray.
In some circles, there is a prevalent opinion that to own a business one must have already have a good university degree. Do you agree with this? Of course, although certain businesses require some specialized technical knowledge, having a successful business of your own is more than just acquiring theoretical knowledge. It primarily consists of the entrepreneur’s set of personality traits and skills—the so-called mental assets that bring specific results. Every start-up company has to consider different challenges. Hard skills alone are not enough to succeed and survive the first year and then the second and third.
It doesn’t work in such a way that when someone is a specialist in some area of industry customers are thereby already waiting for them. Winning customers and then keeping them is a very exhausting task.
To achieve this, different processes have to be engaged, which is usually not easy.
The real-life of an entrepreneur is a life full of stress. If our personality has not developed key qualities such as self-confidence, courage, perseverance, enthusiasm, optimism, and a realistic attitude, then stress devours our energy from the inside and takes away our willingness to face challenges. Then we gradually lose enthusiasm until we finally run out of resources, our liquidity becomes off balance and we finally give up. However, this is not a sad prognosis, rather, it is the daily life of many entrepreneurs who have not learned to control a lot of details.
Let’s move away from this aspect for a moment. We are born with certain genetic predispositions and potential. But are genes the factor that determines whether we become entrepreneurs? What do relevant studies indicate? Genes are certainly the force that shapes us and causes us to develop in a certain direction due to the influence of our innate potential. This potential must then find a way to develop. However, is this the only factor that leads us through life?
What determines who we are and how we will deal with our own lives? Other factors also have an impact on our decisions—including whether we will become successful entrepreneurs. What are these other factors? Upbringing, environmental contacts and our self-development.
Are you ready to change? If you are ready, it is a good sign for your business future.
Change is a daily reality in the life of a successful entrepreneur.
Change requires not only flexibility but above all the ability to control the immediate situation and to draw dynamic conclusions. However, to draw the right conclusions we need to acquire educational resources in the field of a given business. At this point, we must acknowledge the need for continuous learning, acquiring knowledge based on proven methods. The awareness that one can influence their our own life introduces us to the world of seeing opportunities and sets in our minds an attitude characterized by the words, “I want” and “I can”. This is what a person thinks once they have experienced changes resulting from the conscious shaping of their own personality and by influencing their own attitude.
If you are ready to enter the path of becoming an entrepreneur you are not looking for reasons that will quickly discourage you. Rather, you are focused on looking for ways to grow at a pace that your temperament dictates.
Let me use another example to illustrate a point.
Almost all of us have tried to glue together models of ships or planes during our childhood. It seems so simple. We get a box with parts that need to be glued together then sanded and painted properly.
The more complicated the model, the more parts there are. However, no matter how many parts there are, there comes a point when the model takes on its final form—but it is not ready yet.
The small details are still missing. Perhaps tiny strings for a ship’s ropes or the landing gear wheels for an aircraft fuselage must still be attached.
After all the parts have been attached as they should be, we still can’t conclude that we’ve finished the work. You still have to remove any excess glue, polish some parts, and then paint the whole thing the appropriate colors.
Then we can say: great!
Are you sure? In comparison to the original intention: yes.
However, if we look at the effect the next day we will certainly find that there is still something to add or improve. What do we do then? Some people just shrug it off and leave the work at this stage. Others decide to make further changes so that the model is even closer to being ideal.
The same plan of conduct applies not only to constructing models.
The work of making a business effective is exactly the same as assembling a model. It requires attention and focuses on details. It also requires developing your personality. What is the benefit of developing your personality?
The answer to this question can be illustrated in the following manner: by shaping good habits, cultivating the positive qualities of our characters, and by developing a realistic attitude and various skills, we arm ourselves with emotional mechanisms that can be compared to filters.
These mechanisms prevent the entry of, let’s symbolically call them “viruses”, to our mentality that decrease our strength to solve current challenges.
And I want to emphasize there really are many of these viruses that will be encountered, especially in the first years of doing business.
If you are infected with misconceptions about doing business, your decisions will carry risks that are especially unnecessary during the first months of running your business. You will learn about these misconceptions during my lectures. However, I want to draw your attention to one thought—if your beliefs about running a business are wrong, you will pay a price for them. For example, customers will not want to buy your service or your product. I have encountered an approach I compare to a minefield—the belief that “things will work out somehow, we can’t predict everything”. This approach influences one’s attitude gives rise to chaotic actions, and usually forces the entrepreneur to improvise.
Improvisation most often results from laziness, possibly from excessive self-esteem. There is also another aspect of this wrong attitude which is the result of a mistaken belief.
A habit of procrastination leads to excessive stress and affects the quality of running a business. If you are not in the habit of preparing for all the important tasks, let me give you a piece of advice—do something about this problem before you enter the path of business.
And one more mistake is the naive idea that the market needs your services, that customers want to buy what you have. It’s childish thinking and if you think so, that is your problem. Developing your personality (such as different valuable qualities and skills) provides an advantage as it arms you with different mental filters that protect you from a misinterpretation of thoughts, from a misinterpretation of events.
The result of such development is gaining a pure mind. As Mark Fischer wrote: “For those who cannot see evil, evil does not exist.”
Following Fischer’s line of thinking, we may add that what really matters is the meaning we give to what happens to us.
To better understand and remember this, I will share another example with you.
How do you feel at a hotel where the staff treats you kindly and respectfully? You can see and feel that the employees really like other people—they were not taught to be this way, the hotel owner or manager had been specifically looking for people who already had a good attitude towards others.
They were looking for someone who already had a positive attitude towards tasks or challenges, someone who enjoys growing emotionally, someone who is interested in developing their own personality.
Do you know that those of us who like other people, whether they know them or not, have such a filter already? Metaphorically speaking, such persons are armed with a mechanism that helps them to see the good in others. What if the hotel staff were educated in the industry but they lacked such filters? Theoretically, they know everything about what should be done but will they be ready to face challenges during trying times?
Those of us who are willing to develop our soft skills think creatively about resolving conflicts, they do not think about who is right, do not look for guilt, do not judge, do not seek justice.
Such people look for opportunities to mitigate misunderstandings. But to achieve this, it must be accompanied by readiness for self-development and the belief that one can change.
For someone who cares about his or her own development, it is not a problem to be humble, to put others in a good light or, if necessary, to apologize.
It is not difficult to realize that such behavior brings only benefits.
Working on one’s self requires humility—we should first admit to ourselves that we are lacking something, that maybe we should be more conscientious or perhaps we should recognize that we cannot achieve every goal.
To change something in ourselves we first must evaluate ourselves. This is one of the first challenges faced by beginning entrepreneurs—that is, making an honest and realistic assessment of one’s self. To gain this awareness of who we are at this very moment is a very difficult task in spite of all outward appearances. Taking care of the little things regarding our personality is the key to lasting change. Because the details are very important, I would like to share some thoughts on this subject. Have you ever heard of the saying by Sir Frederick Henry Royce, “small things make perfection, but perfection is no small thing”?
Many details of our personality may seem irrelevant to us. However, they are not. For example, is being insightful so important? Is courage really the key to running your own business? Is prioritization also so important? Or is it taking initiative so important? The observations of those who have succeeded indicate that these are very important details that either you will control or otherwise, others will control you and that will be the end of your business dream.
Here are a few more short examples that illustrate the importance of attention to detail. Do you know how many parts are needed to manufacture a car? About twelve thousand. For example, if you wanted to look at each of these twelve thousand parts and spent just one minute on each one, it would take you two hundred hours. That’s more than a month’s work for an employee working eight hours a day.
Now think about it, how much time and attention did the car designers have to spend designing these parts? How long did it take to produce them? How long did it take to assemble them? Many people were involved in taking care of the details of such a project and, as you know, everything works and we are able to drive cars today.
Driving a car is a great pleasure which I enjoy almost every day. There are over a billion cars on our planet.
And one more example. A Boeing 747-400 is made up of six million parts, including 274 kilometers of pipes and 8 kilometers of tubes. Just think about it, we did it, we as people took care of all the details and that is why we have such achievements.
Why am I bringing up these amazing numbers? To show that we are very special—we are a miracle. If we get acquainted with how our personality functions and go into the details of this fascinating subject, we will understand one of the most important factors that influence the effective running of a business.