When it comes to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, the one thing that is never called into question is our logic. The fact that entrepreneurs are highly illogical is never questioned, that is.
To us as entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, the logic behind starting and growing a business is iron clad. To the status quo, however, the logic behind starting a business has as many holes as swiss cheese. Rocking the boat, causing waves, and looking for disruptive innovation in the pursuit of passion and profits is completely illogical to the average Joe.
The essence of entrepreneurship is to follow that illogic until you prove to people how logical it is. If you went back in time to 1998 and told your young (and devilishly handsome) self that it was a good idea to create an online search engine that determined a website’s relevance by the number of pages that linked back to the original site, you would have no clue what future you was talking about. Ranking search results by back links rather than the amount of times a search term appears on a page? That seems illogical. Well, Larry Paige and Sergey Brin followed that illogic right into the history books by creating the Google search engine.
Entrepreneurs see logic when others see illogic, and pursue that logic with a passion until everyone else sees it too. I couldn’t imagine a world without Google today, but I also couldn’t imagine a world with Google pre-1998.
As much as entrepreneurs have a duty to pursue disruptive – or illogical – innovation, there is a form of logical fallacy that all entrepreneurs should be aware of and avoid. I’ve deemed this “the entrepreneur’s fallacy” for obvious reasons. Even though we as entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can see a logical path to success when others can’t, we sometimes fall into a fallacy where we convince ourselves that any knowledge or vision known to us is also known by the general public.
We see a path to success so clearly that we automatically assume other people can see it just as easily. And in this sense we use our out-of-the-box thinking or illogical view of the world against us. Since we naturally think against the grain, we trick ourselves into believing that everyone else thinks against the grain too. We discount our own unique knowledge, views, and passions as “average” or “normal,” when often times they are anything but average or normal. Often times they are the spark that will set of disruptive innovation, and often times we discount them.
So, now that we’ve identified the entrepreneur’s fallacy, what can we do to avoid it? In one word, belief. Believe in your skills and abilities. Believe in your guiding vision. Believe in your desire to succeed. The benefit of striving to become an entrepreneur is that you are exposed to many aspects of life and business that others are not exposed to. Instead of falling into the trap of the entrepreneur’s fallacy and discounting or cheapening that exposure, recognize it as what will set you apart from the average Joe.
Embrace your strengths as the catalyst of unique ideas waiting to be uncovered.
For me, coming from an extensive background in finance and business development, my fallacy was the assumption that everyone understood the nuts and bolts of finance. Not only did this fallacy stunt my personal financial development, but it cheapened the financial advice I gave. When speaking to fellow business leaders, I would often times gloss over financial concepts or ideas because I was afraid to patronize their intelligence. Little did I know that not only did they need to be educated in finance, but they wanted to be educated in finance.
Realizing my own entrepreneur’s fallacy was like a second awakening. No longer was I afraid to speak on the most basic financial concepts, and financial ideas and business development strategies started flowing into my head completely unblocked. Within the first month I had made more impactful business decisions than in my entire career up to the point of my awakening.
Identifying the entrepreneur’s fallacy doesn’t mean you won’t fall into a fallacy of your own. Just remember that when you do, believe.