I always go by the three Ayn Rand basic values to in order to live a full and productive life: reason, purpose and self-esteem.
And yes, over the years countless institutes and individuals have asked the trillion dollar question: What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur? What traits or characteristics are inherent to a successful entrepreneur and is one born with those traits? Well, at the very least successful entrepreneurs are born every day!
Some people believe an entrepreneur is born while others believe an entrepreneur can be taught. Some believe an entrepreneur is like an artist – either you have it or do you don’t. Some see entrepreneurs as leaders that are focused, disciplined, competitive, and charismatic, while others see them as huge risk takers. And all of these analogies are right to some degree.
It’s true all successful entrepreneurs share a few qualities and skills that allow them to be successful. These inherent qualities can be taught; but they often seem to be an inherent driving force that sends individuals down the path of being in business or formally training to for a career in business.
Entrepreneurs see the world differently. They have the ability to see the world as a system. They have the ability to see something in its entirety and as an integrated unit, and they seem to possess the ability to see opportunity within the global picture. They are what is called a system thinker.
There are other characteristics they possess. Entrepreneurs possess an overpowering need to achieve and tend to be very competitive against themselves. They are continuously trying to outthink themselves and others and they are constantly looking for the edge. This is a process that occurs as naturally as breathing and is a driving force behind most entrepreneurs.
They have the determination and dedication to follow through with commitments and they always appear confident and in control. You’ll notice they also possess a positive atmosphere. They are of the mindset “I can,” and “I will.” They are not afraid of failure because failure is not in their vocabulary nor is it an option.
They are objective and have the ability to weigh risks realistically within the big picture. They have an uncanny ability to anticipate developments which gives them the edge in many competitive situations. Entrepreneurs seem to feel right from their gut, call it instinct. They are a resourceful group that possess excellent problem solving skills and are able to diligently work through obstacles or hurdles, treating obstacles as stepping stones.
Entrepreneurs are excellent communicators and recognize how important clear and concise communication is to their success. They also possess a sound working knowledge of the business they are involved in.
Man is born tabula rasa, a blank slate, develops perceptual and conceptual abilities as he grows; withholding any genetic disorder or brain damage, basically all cognitive faculties would be the same. The need for reason as a tool for thinking, gaining knowledge and learning; purpose as an acceptance of the law of causality and a necessity for his survival and productivity as a means to it; eventually creating the value that will serve him most: self-esteem – these are the things that make a successful person, and these are the values that make the best entrepreneurs amongst us.
~ Speech to Entrepreneur Forum, 1995