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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 College Classes Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Take

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 College Classes Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Take

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What’s one non-business college class you recommend all aspiring entrepreneurs take and why?

1. Yoga

Darrah Brustein

    I went to Emory, and in addition to our academic courses, we had PE requirements. It didn’t occur to me until years later how grateful I was to have taken up yoga in college because it became a big way for me to get in a workout and destress later on in business. Namaste.

    Darrah Brustein, Finance Whiz Kids | Equitable Payments

    2. Neuroscience or Psychology

    brian-silverman

      Learning the underpinnings of how people think is truly what business is all about. To make any type of sale, you need to know what people want. It is a great way to learn about business in a non-business sense and think about things in a different manner.

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      Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper

      3. Journalism

      Danny Wong

        Basic journalism teaches you to ask two important questions that are crucial in an entrepreneurial setting. “How?” and “Why?” All the other questions come easy, but when you can quantify and qualify different aspects of your business, you develop incredible insights that will help you grow smarter.

        Danny Wong, Blank Label

        4. Applied Psychology

        Patrick Conley

          Having a solid understanding of the fundamentals of human psychology will help you so much in developing your sales process. Psychology is all about understanding why people do what they do, and this directly affects your ability to sell your product. If you’ve already graduated college, a great crash course on the topic is “Influence” by Robert B. Cialdini.

          Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

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          5. Photoshop

          Matt ehrlichman

            It’s an amazing tool to be able to quickly mock up ideas and share them with your team, investors, etc. The only problem is that it’s so feature-rich and complex that it can be daunting to learn on your own. An intro college course in Photoshop is the perfect way to get comfortable with it so you can add this tool to your arsenal down the road.

            Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

            6. Anything

            Joe Barton

              Anything that interests you! As entrepreneurs, we can get wrapped up in work — especially during the launch phase of a company. It’s important to have some outlets, interests, hobbies and other areas of growth outside of business.

              Joe Barton, Barton Publishing

              7. Science Fiction

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              Derek Flanzraich

                Entrepreneurship is all about dreaming up things that don’t exist yet and couldn’t possibly be done — and that’s exactly what science fiction is about. The best writers (Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, etc.) don’t just write about monsters and aliens, but about humanity placed in a new, previously untold reality.

                Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

                8. Creative Writing

                Kim Kaupe

                  Nothing helps an entrepreneur more than being able to speak and write elegantly and properly. It is one thing to have great ideas, but it’s another to put them down effectively on paper and have the idea come across with all of its excitement, energy and inspiration. Well-written emails, engaging pitches and thoughtful thank-you notes can give any entrepreneur a competitive edge.

                  Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak

                  9. Art and Design

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                  doreen-bloch

                    Taking an art or design class in college is an off-beat, yet fantastic course for aspiring entrepreneurs. With the technology industry becoming so visually dominated these days, entrepreneurs need to be able to tap into the creative side of their brains to effectively market themselves. If your school offers Web design or UXUI classes in particular, jump on the opportunity to sign up.

                    Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                    10. Theater

                    Reid Carr

                      It can teach you how to adapt to environments, read people, speak clearly, project to an audience, vividly illustrate a point, provide confidence and deliver a show. Which, after all, is how most new business is won.

                      Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

                       

                      11. World Cultures

                      Natalie McNeil

                        Business is global today no matter what field you’re working in, and we are all so interconnected. Entrepreneurs should have an understanding of other cultures’ customs and ways of doing things. Traveling and learning about other cultures, business customs and religions have really deepened my appreciation for the tapestry we’re all a part of, and it has made me a much better entrepreneur!

                        Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

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                        1 8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More 2 How Exercising Makes You More Productive 3 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills 4 15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success 5 How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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                        Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                        8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                        8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                        You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                        Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                        When you train your brain, you will:

                        • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                        • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
                        • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

                        So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

                        1. Work your memory

                        Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                        When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                        If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                        The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                        Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                        Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                        What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                        For example, say you just met someone new:

                        “Hi, my name is George”

                        Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

                        Got it? Good.

                        2. Do something different repeatedly

                        By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                        Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                        It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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                        And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

                        But how does this apply to your life right now?

                        Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                        Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                        Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                        So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                        You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                        That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                        3. Learn something new

                        It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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                        For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

                        Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                        You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                        4. Follow a brain training program

                        The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                        5. Work your body

                        You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                        Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                        Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                        Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                        6. Spend time with your loved ones

                        If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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                        If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

                        I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                        7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                        Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                        Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                        Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                        8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                        Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                        When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                        So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                        The bottom line

                        Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                        Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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