We live in one of the most exciting times in history. The ability to innovate, create new technologies, and start our own businesses is more accessible than it ever has been before. A website can be completed in hours. Domain names can be bought and utilized for just a few dollars. Entrepreneurs are being recognized as essential components to the evolution of our society. And for good reason: entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to not only look into the future – they are responsible for creating it!
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to have an engineering degree or build a startup to start thinking like an entrepreneur today. And if you employ the specific ways that inventors and innovators think on a daily basis, you can start to design your life like a billion dollar business.
Innovators constantly challenge the status quo. How? They ask questions. They get curious about almost every aspect of life. When they face something that isn’t working, they don’t accept the current state of affairs. Instead, they ask how they can improve their situation – how they can make the world around them more efficient, sustainable, and compassionate.
When we simply point out everything in our lives that isn’t going as well as we expect it to, we get mired in our troubles; we’re not able to change the situation that’s right in front of us. If we want to think like some of the greatest minds in history, we must get curious about our day-to-day lives and start asking ourselves questions that will change them. Ask yourself, “How can I be more productive? What kind of job will challenge me, but allow me to capitalize on my innate talents? How can I organize my day so I have time to commit to my true passions?”
Once we accept the fact that things don’t have to remain as they are, we can start asking ourselves the types of questions that will allow us to be more innovative.
Record and analyze data before making decisions.
Entrepreneurs use data to guide their decision-making capabilities. And, if you were trying to raise millions of dollars in venture capital to fund your new idea, you’d certainly want to back up your fledgling business plan with enough data to convince investors that they are putting their money to good use.
While most of us aren’t looking for millions for a startup, we can still use the same entrepreneurial principles to make lives so much better. Before we make a decision, we must use evidence to direct us. We may feel angry that we aren’t getting the recognition we think we deserve at work, but the data may show us that, in fact, we could be pushing ourselves to take on more responsibilities or start thinking about how we can contribute in new and interesting ways. However, if your newly collected data reveals that you are going above and beyond at work, you can compile the information and show your superior that it’s time for that promotion or raise. The good news? Data never lies.
When we analyze data, we can start making informed decisions. We can unemotionally observe what is actually happening instead of what we think is happening, and change our actions accordingly. This will allow us to lead more responsible and self-driven lives.
Recognize that your problems are solid gold.
Every successful innovation was founded with the intention of doing just one thing: solving a distinct problem. You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci or Elon Musk to simply analyze the problems you face on a daily basis. Ask yourself, “What makes me angry, anxious, or depressed? Where in my life am I feeling fundamentally unfulfilled?” By examining these questions, and getting to the roots of our issues, we can effortlessly start to construct a roadmap for change.
When we spend enough time looking at the problems we face, the solutions become instinctive – simple, even. It may be time to confront our loved ones about any past pain we may be feeling. We may need to leave our financially secure job for the career that will emotionally fulfill us. For the first time in our lives, we can use our problems to create answers for ourselves that were previously perceived as inaccessible.
Each day brings a new opportunity to be innovative. If we live our lives from a place of innate curiosity, and use data to attack our toughest problems, we can truly start thinking like some of the greatest minds in history.