In the early days of launching a startup, it’s common to be bombarded by advice, myths, conventional wisdom, and dos-and-don’ts. While taking in such experience can help you avoid common pitfalls, it’s also important to think critically and acknowledge that some may be categorised as counterintuitive truths. What’s more, with the hustle and bustle of startup life, fostering the right mentality is truly an entrepreneur’s survival kit. Read on to find out for three hacks to help you get over startup brain traps:
Convictions Based on Confirmation Bias As a stressed-out entrepreneur, it’s natural to apply every piece of advice you hear to your own situation, but disregarding counter evidence that goes against the rosy image in our minds can be a real hazard in our decision-making. For example, we may be told by another startup founder that a certain Marketing strategy tool is great, but it may not be the most suitable for your particular business. In fact, confirmation bias comes into play when people inadvertently only cherry pick the information that will validate their pre-existing conclusions and wishful thinking (a.k.a. tunnel vision). Also, iith the information boom of the digital age, it all to easy to only source information that quenches our desire to be right. As strong as our unwillingness to cope with disconfirmatory data is, sometimes it’s essential to face the unpalatable truth. As accurately put by Robertson Davies “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”. We recommend constantly digging these unsettling questions: what are the ideas that I automatically agreed with? Did I consider the counterargument? Is there an unconscious filter in my brain that blocks these ideas from sight? The Need to Overwork We’ve all experienced the frustration of feeling restless and drained about work even after we’ve had time to unwind. Instead of getting an early night like we should, we pointlessly scroll through our social media feeds and panic about what’s on our plate the next day. Inevitably, we wake up in the morning feeling tired, dragging ourselves out of bed, have one too many cups of coffee, and wonder our body just refuses to replenish its energy. According to recent research, the lack of quality recovery is directly linked to health issues, and the key to resilience comes down to our ability to unwind. The best way to boost resilience isn't having a Spartan attitude and pushing ourselves to the limit of our endurance; rather, we should strive to remain constant in our enthusiasm and energy to carry through our idea, and get enough rest to do so. We recommend journaling, listening to podcasts, reading quietly and enjoy a nice movie to unwind. Valuing Knowledge Over CuriosityKnowledge is a big word. So much so that as a culture, we prioritise the pursuit of knowledge almost more than anything else. But knowledge has never been less valuable in history as it is today, with the Internet revolutionising the sharing of information, democratising its accessibility. When it comes to hiring the best talent, the intellectually curious employee can sometimes outshine the employee best equipped with technical skills in terms of bringing value to a company, which is especially true for startups. In fact, an insatiable curiosity, despite the lack of certain knowledge, can spur an unremitting pursuit to gain that knowledge and go above and beyond. Also, knowing too much can sometimes deter us from actions, allowing us to give into imaginary fear of potential roadblocks without truly dealing with them with a fearless innocence. Curiosity, a sometimes overlooked asset, epitomises the entrepreneurial spirit. We’ve all experienced that moment of being scolded by adults that we ask too many “unimportant questions”, but being an entrepreneur is the time to let your curiosity free! Constantly probing and asking questions is key to understanding your industry and business model, and bring about change.
Today’s entrepreneurs do not like getting tied down and are inherently drawn towards options that let them progress at their own growth-plan. Personalisation and a sense of creative freedom has picked up the pace and is here to not only rule but also dominate the work culture.
As part of Garage Society’s Well-Being Month, we sat down with Dutch entrepreneur Madelon van de Ven, to learn more about her flourishing plant subscription startup and her mission to get more urbanites to experience the health and well-being benefits of plants.