Some eight years ago, Forbes Magazine was fortunate enough to get an exclusive joint interview with two of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world today. Both the 87-year-old financial investor Warren Buffett and 48-year-old rapper-turned-entrepreneur Jay-Z aka Shawn Carter discussed their business acumen. And although you couldn’t get two more different individuals together in a room, the pair had quite similar views on the mental attributes required for long-term success and wealth.
Looking Beyond the Here and Now
Both Carter and Buffett insist that long-term thinking is essential to reaching even the most ambitious business goals. Carter believes that those who have ‘the discipline not to get caught up in the moment’ have a far greater chance of staying the course and prevailing. In other words, being an entrepreneur is just like being a profitable poker player. A key pillar of any winning strategy at the tables is to play tight, prepare to fold many hands and be selective with the hands they bet. It’s the same in business — your attitude must be one of confidence rather than desperation — playing the long game and only seizing the right opportunities to take your business to the next level.
Carter points to the music industry and the way in which there is always a ‘hot’ new sound around the corner. While some in the music business may make emotional decisions based on short-term trends, choosing to veer away from what they know, it is those who stick to their principles and identity such behaviour that tend to be remembered longest. Buffett agrees that short-sightedness is no way to build lasting business success. You only have to look at Buffett’s ‘buy and hold’ style of investing in stocks and shares to discover that the man worth an estimated $81 billion is someone with the emotional stability to stick to his guns.
Have the Bravery to Trust Your Instincts
Buffett recommends that budding entrepreneurs need to have the bravery to ‘think independently’ and avoid being swayed by the masses. To be successful in business, some argue the development of a siege mentality to ignore the external noise and ‘follow the facts and your reasoning’. Throughout Buffett’s long, successful career in financial investments, he insisted that he was never ‘bothered’ if ‘people disagreed’ with what we thought — because he was confident that he ‘knew the facts’.
A strong, long-term mindset is vital for any entrepreneur as tests of adversity in some shape or form will always persist. Some businessmen and women that experience extreme hardship, i.e., the loss of valuable work contracts or employees, may feel the need to throw in the towel and give up there and then. It can feel like the easy way out. However, those with the mental fortitude to climb up off the canvas and respond positively to the challenges have the resilient mindset to maintain the long-term growth curve of their business. There will always be bumps in the road, no matter how successful an entrepreneur you become, but it’s how you react to those bumps that makes you a real warrior in business.
Seeking Advice is Not a Sign of Weakness
Another crucial trait to have as an entrepreneur is the humility to seek advice and support from those who’ve been there, done it and got the T-shirt to show for it. Those with the mindset to seek out fellow entrepreneurs for business advice are far more likely to become an expert in their field than those with a one-track mind that stick their head in the sand the moment things take a turn for the worse. Developing a network of business mentors is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are committed to self-improvement and that you respect the challenge of growing and taking your business forward. If you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to master your mindset, make a conscious decision to do the following: seek much-needed guidance from your peers and adopt a long-term view of where you want your start-up business to head.