If you're a college entrepreneur, I bet I know what you're doing with your spring break: working. Am I right?
Of course I am. As a first-time entrepreneur, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks of running a business. After all, if you don’t do something, who will? But here’s my advice: Take the blinders off. Stop, breathe deeply and open your mind.
Say ‘yes’ more than ‘no.’ Ask why, often. Question your beliefs and your facts. In lieu of taking an actual vacation, consider the option of staying open-minded in all things. Doing so will make you a more successful entrepreneur, as well as a better-rounded individual.
Here are five ways to keep your mind open:
1. Channel creativity.
If you want to achieve success and live the lifestyle that you visualize every night before bed, you can’t simply follow procedure and protocol when confronted with challenges or dilemmas. When others move left, you have to at least consider moving right. Better yet, leap into the air, or tunnel underground. There are creative solutions to every challenge. Keep an eye out for them.
2. Get uncomfortable.
It’s easy to get too comfortable with a daily routine. This is less true for entrepreneurs, but it is nonetheless applicable. While settling into a routine may increase your efficiency, it unfortunately often has a deleterious effect on your creativity. Shake things up and make yourself uncomfortable. Unknown situations force your body and mind into a state of excitement. This energy generates your creativity. Jumpstart your imagination by exploring the unknown.
3. Become a learner.
It’s vital to balance educating yourself with taking action, as some people get so bogged down with studying and assimilating information they never really get moving. But you must consume information eagerly and regularly, or you’ll become a dinosaur. Learn to love the learning process. And while you’re at it, seek out information that contradicts ideas and concepts you now feel certain about. Otherwise, you run the risk of simply reinforcing your own viewpoints. Question your assumptions.
4. Meet optimistic people.
Surround yourself with people who exude optimism, as it tends to go hand-in-hand with open mindedness. The people you associate with have a huge impact on your personality, whether you realize or not. If your social and business networks consist of burnt out and jaded individuals that complain about their failures and enemies, your mind will close and even shut down.
5. Set an example.
As your business starts to grow and you begin to hire employees, both exhibit and encourage open-minded behavior among those around you. What company do you think will be more successful? One that engages in groupthink and never questions management decisions, or the company that encourages critical thinking, seeks a variety of imaginative solutions to challenges and facilitates the creative process? Set a powerful example for your colleagues, employees and friends by radiating open mindedness.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.