Tag Archives: entrepreneurial instinct

INC Magazine: Shane Battier and Your Winning Streak

By Monica Mehta. Entrepreneurs can leverage the same brain chemistry that helped the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier shine in the NBA finals. Here’s how.

In business, sports, or anything else, getting on a hot streak isn’t luck. It’s physiological.  If you can understand how the brain processes success and failure, you can create your own winning streak, jump-starting your productivity.

Read more at INC.com


Anyone Can Spot Risks. Entrepreneurs Take Risks

The ability to take smart risks is the single defining attribute of a successful entrepreneur, but at times the primal brain’s aversion to fear can make risk-taking a difficult task.

On personality tests, entrepreneurs scored higher ratings on questions that tested for impulsive behavior. Additionally, cognitive flexibility, or the ability to switch a plan of action depending on the situation’s context, played a key role in making smart business decisions. Combined with an impulsive personality, this cognitive flexibility gives risk-takers a particular edge over people who don’t have an impulsive nature.

Our brain doesn’t like risk, especially when it involves loss. Risk can also make us anxious and inhibit our ability to think creatively and problem solve efficiently.

Fear is the strongest variable that stands in the way of success, as it inhibits your brain from taking rewarding risks. This notion of loss aversion describes why people often unconsciously choose avoiding losses over acquiring gains.

In a 2009 Scientific American Mind article on amygdala damage, Dr. De Martino explains, “Loss aversion reflects a very ancient mechanism in the brain. Think about an animal. It has to get food, but at the same time it has to protect itself from predators. It would be very wise for an animal to weigh gains and losses from an evolutionary perspective. “

It’s fairly obvious that financial well-being is necessary for survival in the modern world. Almost all entrepreneurs are forced to put their financial security into jeopardy at some point. Their trick is they don’t fear loss the way everyone else does. It’s important to remember that the anxiety and general unpleasantness associated with the thought of loss occurs in the brain, and it can’t physically harm you.

The ability to take successful risks occurs in the brain and its biggest deterrent, fear, also exists in the brain. By understanding how your primal brain makes decisions in the modern world, you can learn some simple tricks to help train your brain, silence the fear associated with loss, and make better decisions now.

Can you think of a time when your ability to take risks was rewarding? Why do you think you were able to move past the fear accompanied with taking risks? Tell us about a time took a rewarding risk and how it worked out. Share your story in the comment section below.

Ten Ways to Get Creative at Work

Try these tips to maximize your creativity at work.  From Scientific American Mind-July/August 2012

1. Become an expert: a solid knowledge base will allow you to connect remote ideas and see their relevance to a problem.

2. Observe: when trying to come up with a new product or service, carefully study how people use what is currently available and what problems they face.

3. Know your audience: walk in the shoes of the intended costumer. How would a child use a remote control? How would an elderly person access a voting booth?

4. Step out of your comfort zone: seek activities outside your field of expertise. Take a class; read a book; travel to a foreign country. New experiences often bring forth novel thoughts.

5. Be willing to work alone: group brainstorming can help you synthesize your ideas, but it is far more effective if you have started the creative process on your own.

6. Talk to outsiders about your work: a novel perspective can help you see alternative solutions or possible faults with your original idea.

7. Have fun: a good mood can forge remote associations. Upbeat music may help but also makes tasks that demand focus more difficult. If you need to concentrate, dampen you demeanor with sad songs.

8. Take a nap or let your mind wander: sleep and daydreaming can enlists your unconscious mind to work on a problem that is stumping you.

9. Take a break: occupying your mind with a different task can unleash novel solutions.

10. Challenge yourself: disrupt your daily routine. Abandon your initial idea (even if it works) and look for a new one. Borrow from other people’s answers and try to improve on them.