Connor Judson Garrett
Thousands of credit hours later. As many hours spent in classes. Countless all nighters. Endless lectures. And still, your degree alone doesn’t mean a damn thing.
Your pursuit of a diploma might actually be distracting you from the biggest lesson school isn’t teaching you.
College is not designed to reveal to you the intangibles of entrepreneurship.
In fact, entrepreneurship is not a thing you can study. You experience it. You jump into it. You live it. You breathe it. Or your soul dies with your unfulfilled dreams. Those big ideas you never acted on will haunt you.
Conversely, if you take the plunge, and simply decide to live and breath your dreams, you will change the world.
If you dare to solve ‘impossible’ problems, if you dare to make up your mind that you will succeed or die trying, then there really is no turning back.
In doing so, your old dreams will become your new reality, and you will never be the same.
If you’re still reading this, congratulations: you’re already on the path. And perhaps, you do have ‘what it takes.’
Now, it is also true that there is always someone smarter, faster, stronger, better-looking — but they are not YOU. I don’t have to know you personally, to say what you have that most people don’t.
You’re seeking. You have a choice. Be offended when you are called ‘talented’. Take pride in skills. Take pride in the things you’ve worked for. Take pride that you’ve been at work all day, and you’ve come home to work while others sleep. They will be stuck in the cycle. Take pride in your exhaustion. Take pride in your pain. Take pride in your endurance.
This is how you’ll discover the intangibles of entrepreneurship.
You see, they say sports teaches you lessons about life. Athletes frequently excel in business. But high-level athletes are drawn to business because, even after their playing days are over, they can continue to embrace new challenges and learn what business can teach them about life. Athletes are indeed attracted to the competition, but now instead of pushing their bodies to their physical limits, they also recognize instinctively, that business will force them to train their minds.
And while these elements are present in business, it’s not about power, superiority, dominance — it’s about creation. It’s about setting your ideas free through work. Entrepreneurship is about developing your spirit.
These are the intangibles all great entrepreneurs have:
An entrepreneur is, by necessity, ingenious — not inherently so, but because they refuse to accept that a solution doesn’t exist. They imagine new ways to get things done, and make it happen (even if, and especially if that means figuring out how to do is as they go). Sometimes they have no idea what they’re actually doing — but they start by trying.
An entrepreneur won’t take no for an answer. If a technology, business, or market they believe should exist doesn’t, they will create it — in spite of the seeming impossibility. Instead of seeing failure as a reason to quit, the true entrepreneur views failure as the first step to success. And she’ll create a narrative in which failure is given purpose to reaffirm the path she is on.
Much like in sports, a great entrepreneur must thrive under pressure — their instincts hone in on the perfect maneuvers during crunch time. Composure is what keeps them calm, cool, and collected when pitching to investors, speaking to crowds, or just pushing the team to meet deadlines.
- A (Great) Judge of Character
This is absolutely critical as the entrepreneur forms their team and recruits others to share in their vision. But who they spend time with is also a strong reflection of who they are. We tend to hang around people with similar motivation and energy levels, and interests.
The only thing all successful people have in common is perseverance. They don’t quit. They have an endless well of determination. It’s a myth that entrepreneurs always believe they will overcome…they just don’t see failure as an option.
There are two kinds of vision an entrepreneur can have: the first kind is honed and developed through an extensive knowledge of an industry or demographic that allows them to know exactly what the existing demand is. The second kind is prophetic, revolutionary — the sort possessed by the entrepreneur who bends the world to their will. They have envisioned something so great, they are sure the world will want it — the market just hasn’t seen it yet.
Hopefulness is often mistaken for optimism. But a truly great entrepreneur isn’t necessarily optimistic, so much as they are blessed and cursed by chronic hopefulness. They have a dream so powerful, that even when life tries to tell them to wake up, they continue to hope and believe it’s real. They are constantly sourcing the world for reasons why their dream will come true. Everything is a sign pointing them towards their destiny. They continue to pour themselves into the dreamscope, despite not knowing what will come to bear.
An entrepreneur has a heightened sense of the moment. This keen awareness, allows them to puzzle abstract connections together and seize opportunities. If they are denied the chance to get publicity for a certain reason, they’ll spin that reason into a story, which in turn gets them more publicity than the the original opportunity would have ever afforded them. They are willing to go farther — even if that means using blackhat techniques.
The great entrepreneurs won’t wait around for someone else to tell them what to do. Time is precious, and if they don’t have something to do, they’ll make up a task for themselves. “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” No one understands the true meaning of that quote like an entrepreneur.
The entrepreneur has the dream or objective on their mind. All. The. Time. Whatever problems or obstacles of the present and those that will arise, persist in their mind until they have a solution. And even then, all solutions are temporary. Everything can be made better, more refined. They plan out every last detail, and still have backup plans.
One final note:
This is not required as shown by those who’ve succeeded without it, but it certainly helps. This intangible is worth more than an honorable mention to be added to the list — humility. The willingness to actually utilize the talents around you increases your chances of success infinitely. If you have all the other intangibles on the list, and you are humble, then you also be able to bring out the best in those around you. Others will respect your willingness to take a step back. The entrepreneurial genius never wants to be the smartest person in the room.