Why Entrepreneurs Can't Afford to Overthink a Mistake

As founders, not just for yourself but also your employees, it's important to consider it as a lesson learnt and quickly move on
Why Entrepreneurs Can't Afford to Overthink a Mistake
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Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India
5 min read

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Your entrepreneurial journey is not going to be one void of mistakes. As a start-up founder, you are bound to make mistakes but also learn from them. The consequences of making errors only prepares one for what’s coming next and they only learn to be stronger.

But what entrepreneurs often do is worry about the mistake and spend too much time thinking about it, instead of working on a solution and then moving past it. As founders, not just for yourself but also your employees, it’s important to consider it as a lesson learnt and quickly move on.

Entrepreneur India spoke to founders about why entrepreneur can’t afford to overthink.

Time and Tide Wait For None

While you are dwelling upon a mistake, you are wasting precious time during which you could work on finding better solutions for your problem. Lalit Upadhyay, Founder, Polash Ventures puts it across simply as time and tide never come again, so entrepreneurs are advised not to linger onto the wrong decision which has already been made. There is no point of return for the things that went wrong in past. “Instead of pondering and overthinking about the mistake, one should think wisely and act firmly for the future. The success of an enterprise lies in the present and future. Moreover, it is crucial for start-ups to frame strategies that have the least risks and ensure the profit of the company,” he said.

For Your Own Mental Peace

Entrepreneurship is a job led with passion. Start-up founders often put their all into one idea and strive to make the best out of it. So, when a mistake does happen, entrepreneurs often tend to take it very personally. Nishant Sidhu, Founder, Trekteller believes that no one who wishes to retain mental peace and sanity should spend too much time thinking over their past mistakes, let alone an entrepreneur who has to make a number of decisions everyday which may have consequences that are not under his or her control. “Though it’s not to deny that you must own your error and should apologize if need be, but as an entrepreneur, there’s no point fretting over why you did what you did. Overthinking can drain mental peace, deprive one of good night’s sleep, and even hampers problem-solving ability, all of which can really bring down productivity to zero; that’s the kind of day no entrepreneur would like to go through in his or her life,” he said.

How Can You Handle The Stress

A journey in the start-up world doesn’t come without its doses of stress. Mistakes done by an entrepreneur often lead to a stressful situation and the person is at a fix about how to solve them. But instead of overthinking and wallowing because of the mistake, the entrepreneur should take charge and make quick decisions that will solve the crisis.

Write It Down

Upadhyay believes that uncertainty is an unavoidable element of the business world. He advises that in such a stressful situation, write down the list of small tasks that are causing stress. The tasks which are written down may look unmanageable to do at first, but if they are addressed with intelligence by breaking them down, they will be easy to accomplish. “In other words, thoughtful planning and strategic management is the antidote for stress in the business,” he said.

Empty Your Mind and Start Afresh

Overthinking such situations will only add to the troubles of the entrepreneur. Overthinking about some erroneous in the past just adds extra stress that can hamper their further decision-making ability and productivity, believes Sidhu.  He advises that entrepreneurs should empty their mind for a while, or engage themselves in some other activity like reading an article that might interest them, listening to their favourite song, talking about other business projects that they might have in the pipeline. “Well, because it’s already too late to overthink. By overthinking, you are only going to stress yourself out,” he said.

Move On

Instead of letting your mind go over the same mistake, Sidhu believes that one should focus on whether the outcomes of what happened were under your control. “If yes, analyse whether you you did your best. If you put in your best efforts to make things go your way and the result still went the other way, there’s nothing you should be stressed about. Make a note for future, though,” he said.

Moving on from the mistake and not dwell upon it is the most important lesson here. Instead of wasting time on how the mistake happened, focus on the why and learn from it. Vidur Gupta, Director, Spectrum Talent Management believes that being an entrepreneur is all about taking responsibility, dealing with stress and handling difficult situations. “Every entrepreneur needs to realize that these situations are what makes an entrepreneur strong, and the journey is all about dealing with stressful times and moving forward,” he said.

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