If we break the word entrepreneur down, we realize it’s actually a French word and that it means “enter into risk.” Entre means enter and preneur means risk. So, you as an entrepreneur are someone who enters into risk on a continuous basis, and it really makes sense, doesn’t it? That’s how it feels. We continue to enter risk on a daily basis. We make risky decisions. We raise capital and we employ that into areas that we believe will produce returns. While something is very important when you’re entering into risk is to have a realistic risk profile or to have a real sense of what the risks are.
So, a great poker player that knows how to count cards can look at the cards that are in his or her hand and can literally calculate the risk of receiving a card that they need for their hand and what the actually risk is of getting a high or low card in the very next round. When we are involved in the entrepreneurial game, it’s much more difficult to analyze risk at any given point or factoring in things like the economy, or current run rate, how much capital we have on hand, our employees and their lives, how they’ll be affected by things, what their perception will be of various decisions we’ve made, and a multitude of other factors.
One problem that I’ve seen with entrepreneurs that use alcohol and drugs to relax, and for that matter, drink a lot of coffee, is that it actually changes the risk profile that we see, and we ultimately think that the world and that our decisions have more risk to them than they do. To counter this, I found that it’s really helpful to occasionally take a break on any kind of drugs or alcohol that you’re taking, to consider taking a break on coffee, to get into great shape, and to firm up the natural risk buffers in your body. Risk, level of dopamine, and serotonin in our brain at any given time, the acidity of our system, how much calcium and magnesium we have on hand, these are all factors that change the perceived risk of the situation in a very subtle but profound way, and a very meaningful way. And, I’ve seen entrepreneurs that always have a slightly more risky or risk oriented perspective on the decisions they’re trying to make and they’re never able to quite lift off because they think that they’re in more danger than they actually are.
The hormones and chemicals in our brain are incredible subtle and very effectual in changing our behavior. So, I recommend paying attention to what you’re putting into your body and to consider that, am I doing something that may make the world seem more dangerous than it is, the situation at hand seem more risky than it is, and is it possible that something as simple as switching from, for instance, coffee to black tea for a couple of weeks could make me look at the world a whole different way? I would propose that it most definitely is. Let me know what you think below.