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What You’ll Learn From Starting Your Own Business

What You’ll Learn From Starting Your Own Business

For many people starting your own business is almost a rite of passage: a wonderful experience, but incredibly daunting. Nevertheless, there is always much you can learn from starting your own business, whether or not it succeeds or fails, which can prepare you for the future and also experiences outside of entrepreneurship. Here are some of the top ones considered to be the most important:

Organization is key

Take your time. Keep notes. Organize your paperwork. This is crucial as a start-up in order to monitor the company’s development and planning for scalability. Keeping updated spreadsheets, preparing templates, and organizing your paperwork is absolutely crucial. It saves up your time of having to find old documents, and makes it much easier to track progress.

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You can’t plan for everything

You’ve got your business plan, you’ve prepared all the finances and documented everything – you’re ready to go. This is one more for those who are quite controlling and have a predisposition to order: you cannot plan for everything. I repeat, you cannot plan for everything. There will be unexpected payments which crop up, or unplanned expenses. Nothing ever goes as you plan for it to, and it is exciting. It’s all part of the start-up culture.

If you have a back-up plan, you’re planning to fail

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Before starting my own company I had read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. This notion was one which came up in the book, and intrigued me quite deeply. Many people say that it is important to bootstrap, and have an exit strategy just in case things do not go to plan. But if we think about this idea in more depth, by preparing an exit strategy you are already lacking faith in your idea. If you do not believe in yourself or the idea, perhaps you should reconsider whether or not the start-up is even a good idea. More often than not, it is the people who push through the mud, and have entire faith that their product or service can deliver and is necessary tend to be the companies which succeed. Do not forget, Pemberton only sold $50 worth of Coca Cola in his first trading year but he believed in the product enough to keep going.

Taking that step

Deciding to start your own business is a very daunting process. Accepting that you are likely to be living off canned food in candlelight for a few months (a bit of an exaggeration) can be very difficult to realize, and many people will quit halfway through because they find the whole process too demanding. However, if you manage to follow through, not only is it exciting from the business point of view, but can be seen as a personal achievement. I often liken this to the scene in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where he takes the step into the unknown, relying purely on faith, and reaps the rewards. This links back very much to the former point, in that having faith in not only your product, but yourself, is crucial. Many people tend to discover more about themselves when struggling through the initial stages of a start-up.

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Objectification & Separation

As much as you may adore your business, the product, and your team, it is important that you remain somewhat objective and separate your personal life from the business. Otherwise, big decisions become difficult, such as whether or not to keep a member of the team on, whether or not to discontinue a certain line, or even whether or not the profitability of the company is there. An easy way, as a beginner, I found was to make monthly or bi-annual targets. It gave me clear sight of whether or not we were really doing well.

Criticism vs. Cynicism

There will always be people telling you that:

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  • “You won’t last five months.”
  • “It’s a stupid idea, no one will buy it.”
  • “You can’t do that.”

This is pure cynicism. Utter disbelief, or sometimes jealousy, in what you are doing. Pay no attention to this – these are people that will try and break you, when you are simply choosing a more adventurous path in life. However, pay attention to criticism, especially when it is constructive. If someone tells you that perhaps a different color will be more appealing, or lowering the price might be a good idea, then take these into consideration. Filter out the useless cynicism, and engage in constructive criticism.

Featured photo credit: Ninjamarketing.it via cdn.ninjamarketing.it

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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