The fast advances in technology have affected our lives in innumerable ways. Fracking has unleashed vast reserves of oil and gas from places that were inaccessible before. Digital communications are so ubiquitous that we have begun to take it for granted. Who travels by car without a GPS? Digital games are more detailed than ever. Even slots online have reached levels undreamt of a generation ago.
All this technology has spawned entrepreneurial activity in places as far flung as India and Israel. One interesting aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit is that whether you succeed or (temporarily) fail, there are personality traits that entrepreneurs seem to share. Even more interesting is that some of these same traits are common to people who are simply happy. Here are a few traits that entrepreneurs and happy people share.
This is often confused with competitiveness. Drive is what gets us out of bed and keeps us going. Competitiveness is what makes us angry when things don’t go as we would like. Competitive people create unhappy and dissatisfied employees who leave when they can.
Drive is what gets us up in the morning but, ironically, it’s also what allows us to let go in the evening. Happy people know that doing their best is its own reward. Driven entrepreneurs know well that no successful business becomes successful overnight and that there are always valleys to cross.
People who are driven but don’t turn everyone around them off can be sure that the valleys they have to cross won’t become “that lonesome valley”.
For the religious, that means first and foremost gratitude to the deity. But gratitude goes much deeper than that. Gratitude toward one’s country may direct the entrepreneur and the happy person top give money to charitable causes.
Giving charity has little to do directly with the success of your business venture but it puts your business in proper perspective. As much as you want to succeed, you know that there are many who can’t and gratitude impels you to help them.
Happy people are also well-known to be the most charitable. They see the fun that their money might buy them is offset by the good feeling they have when they help others.
There are truly an unlimited number of causes that may not exactly qualify as charities where the power of gratitude will make it easy for you to give back.
Many people think that creativity is inborn: either we are creative or we’re not. This is not true. We can see it best when we look at how much time successful artists put into their work. No one can become a great actor, pianist, or painter just by acting, painting, or playing the piano.
We have to practice our trade. The greatest singers go through their scales every day because the skill can be lost.
In sports, baseball players practice the skills they need in games over and over. In football, a quarterback will practice one play many times with his receivers so that it might work in a game.
Often, what appears like creativity is actually the result of hundreds of hours of practice and experience.
Learning from Experience
Everything that happens can be turned into a life lesson if we are open to learning. Famously, Sam Walton, the founder of the vast Walmart chain, lost his lease on a property where he had a store that was a progenitor of the Walmart concept.
Rather than bemoan his bad luck, Sam Walton said that he would reopen a similar store but only in a property he owned. Rather than wallow, he forged on with a clear mind and a winning business concept.
Willingness to Ask for Help
Many people are too proud or embarrass to ask for help. At the end of the great movie “My Cousin Vinny” the lawyer’s girlfriend castigates him for not saying thank you to her for her help. He responds that he wants to win the case on his own. Her sarcastic response became famous: “You might actually have to ask someone for help once in a while. What a f….ing nightmare.” Successful people get over this block and learn to ask for help.
This is possibly the most under-rated quality that both entrepreneurs and happy people share. They are simply amazed at the variety and wonderment all around them. Even in areas of little overt interest to them, they see reality in a positive way, interested in it for its own sake without consideration as to how to make money off it. This curiosity pushes them further to discover more and more.
Enjoy Solving Problems
Curiosity leads to seeing problems and seeking solutions to them. One of the most amazing phenomena of recent years is the explosive growth in bloggers. The term blog was only coined about ten years ago when the number of web logs was quite small. Today there are millions of bloggers.
Many of them are simply observers who look for solutions to life’s problems.
Entrepreneurs are people who love the challenge of taking an idea and running with it; running with an idea is really a euphemism for solving problems. Happy people are people who never despair; they see silver linings in the most tragic events and are also always on the lookout for solutions to problems.
One of the most poignant stories about happy people came about when Christopher Reeve, who had played Superman, fell off a horse and was paralyzed. When his wife entered his hospital room he had a sad look on his face. Her first words to him were, “Where is that famous smile of yours?” It turned him around and he remained a very public personality, advocating for research on spinal cord injuries.
The most successful entrepreneurs are people who always keep their smile on their face despite the numerous setbacks. Jeff Bezos, who is in the news because his personal fortune now exceeds 100 billion dollars, said famously that he got into the online book selling business because he saw an opportunity that he didn’t want to miss. He was less motivated by the money he could make than by addressing a great challenge and solving all its problems.