In my previous post I mentioned that four traits or types of behavior are needed to travel the road to happiness. It just so happens that these four traits have been identified by researchers as the same traits of “successful” entrepreneurs. This is good news.
I have already mentioned two of these four traits: education/training and social skills. Both of these are needed for the journey of life and both have been identified by psychology researchers are requirements of successful entrepreneurs. It is no big surprise that these traits are needed for the road to happiness. We all need to be educated/trained to have a job and live in today’s complex world. We also need social skills to interact with family, friends, our neighbors, and at our job.
However, there are two additional traits of successful entrepreneurs: an orientation to the future and motivation to identify opportunities that others do not see.
Successful entrepreneurs are ones that have an orientation to the future – they are very concerned with “missing the boat” in the distant future and willing to take risks and explore opportunities today to avoid regretting a future lived below expectations. This is a very important trait and explains a lot of why entrepreneurs do what they do. They are preoccupied with not experiencing regret in the future for inaction today. As such, they are willing to do things to ensure that their future will be lived as best as possible. In essence, these entrepreneurs are proactive – they are taking action today in order to enjoy a future that might be lived above expectations. They are not waiting for whatever might come their way.
The second trait is related to the above trait: desire to capitalize on opportunities that others do not see. It is not that entrepreneurs are more prone to taking risks; they just see opportunities differently than others see them. In fact, they may believe that the opportunities that they see may be less risky than staying in their current job.
Both of these traits are related to each other. The desire to capitalize on opportunities that others may view as risky is driven by an orientation to the future and a life that will not be lived below expectations. In other words, “successful” entrepreneurs are always looking for new opportunities in order to make sure that their future is lived as best as possible by those actions taken today.
The above painting by Winslow Homer, discussed in far greater detail in my book, is an excellent depiction of the two traits. The young woman is viewed leaving her friends for an opportunity that she recognizes and that the others in the group do not see. In addition, she is seen expressing a reserved confidence that this new opportunity will lead to a future life lived above her expectations of today.
In the next post, I will summarize all four traits.