Teachers in the conventional education system teach students to learn things and be prepared to join the workforce as employees when they graduate. They don’t train students how to be self-employed. In other words, our schools and teachers don’t focus on training students to become entrepreneurs.
An extreme analogy is probably something like this: Students are taught to be line workers in factories, but never as the owners or founders of businesses that run the factories.
The mindset of an entrepreneur is different from an employee’s. An entrepreneur thinks in a contrarian way. And to win big in business, your “contrarian-ness” must be more than just being different from your employee friends. It must have other specific components that provide you with something extra to push through when things get tough.
If you haven’t been taught to think outside-the-box at school or by your parents early on, it might take a lot of energy to retrain your mind to think like an entrepreneur in adulthood. For instance, conventional schools tend to teach students to memorize, recall, and conform to the norms.
This way of thinking is likely to make them “good” employees, but bad” entrepreneurs. Thus, you’d need to unlearn the “unsuitable” ways of thinking and change them with the more “appropriate” ways of thinking like an entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur needs to see beyond the facade, to connect dots that might not look anything particular at the moment, and to continue pushing forward with conviction when others aren’t eager to support you. In other words, being an entrepreneur requires skills that are in direct opposition to being a conventional employee who works merely based on rank-and-file and rigid job description and scope.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to think like a contrarian entrepreneur and how to train yourself as one.
How to Think Like a Contrarian Entrepreneur
As if having a third eye, entrepreneurs see things that most common people overlook and act unconventionally, often against the mainstream. For this, entrepreneurs combine both intellectual analysis with a distinctive sense to see beyond what’s happening on the physical level. With vivid imagination, which is a combination of intellectual, instinctive, and affective intelligences, entrepreneurs tap into their internal strength to keep moving forward.
They don’t stop just because someone says something wouldn’t work. Instead, they’d investigate to find solutions and clarify things as much as possible. Even when things don’t look like moving in the predicted direction, entrepreneurs don’t retrieve. They have the ability to maintain determination and perseverance. They’re optimistic beyond belief, which is the mark of an outstanding contrarian.
When most people see the negative side, for instance, contrarians see the opposite, and they can convince themselves that the decision made is the right one. For sure, contrarians have a strong sense of delayed gratification, which is one of the most important traits of successful individuals, according to Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University. They’re willing to wait before their strike.In a nutshell, a contrarian is someone who thinks and acts against the mainstream with specific reasons that most people might not be able to comprehend at the moment. A contrarian can later prove that his or her decision is more profitable than those who follow the mainstream.
How to Train Yourself
Training to become a contrarian requires discipline in thinking and doing. For this, you’d need a strong sense of direction, particularly in doing business and making profitable decisions. You can start with making your first decision consciously: I want to be a contrarian entrepreneur.
Next, promise yourself that you need to start thinking as a contrarian entrepreneur, because you already are. The soonest you make the decision, you become one. Of course, you might still feel like that you have the so-called “impostor syndrome” in the first few days, weeks, or months.
You can only eliminate that feeling of inadequacy with re-programming your mind with the new mindset and new ways of doing things. Train your mind to see things not merely as they are, but as “something else.” What if I change this product a little bit? What if I buy instead of sell? What if I try this new method, instead of following the old approach? What if I stay a little bit longer instead of throwing in the towel right away?
Continue challenging and questioning things, situations, others, and yourself. Create various alternative scenarios in your mind, instead of accepting the status quo. These imaginative scenarios are thoughts and ideas that can be applied to something disruptive, such as a product, a process, or a perspective. A dash of courage is another important ingredient in being an entrepreneur.
To be an entrepreneur, you’d need to have a basic contrarian mindset to begin with, which is “not following the majority norm to be an employee.” It’s the first step to being a true and tested contrarian entrepreneur. Start a business and stay true to it despite occasional hardships and negative results.
Always see beyond what’s in front of you. Be brave to execute the scenarios instead of succumbing to the status quo. Once you’ve mastered this, you’re on your way to win huge.
About the author:
Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She works as a digital strategist for Oberlo, the founder of SiliconValleyGlobe.com, and blogs at JenniferXue.com. Her works have been published in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Business.com, Business2Community, Good Men Project, Addicted2Success, and others.