We’ve got the wrong idea about happiness.
According to Positive Psychologist Shawn Achor, happiness isn’t about smiley faces and pretty rainbows (whatever that even means). In reality, happiness is “the joy we feel striving after our potential”.
Most of us live out our life thinking that there is some magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that if you work hard to achieve “success” (whatever your definition for that is) you’ll arrive at some incredible gift that will make everything OK and fill you with bliss.
But what if we’ve got it wrong? What if happiness is really the journey itself, the very moving and striving towards your potential that ignites a fire in you that fills you with joy and fulfillment?
Why Entrepreneurship Is an Effective Path to Happiness (and How to Get Started)
Progress equals happiness. If you’re growing in anything, financially, spiritually, emotionally, in your relationship, in your body, you’re going to feel better in your life. That’s what we’re made for.
– Tony Robbins (more quotes)
Several high-profile authorities have begun to back this notion that progress is happiness, from the studies of Positive Psychology itself to the great Tony Robbins. But what does this actually look like in practice?
When it comes down to it, this is about putting yourself in a position where you can do two things:
- Accomplish things: Accomplishments give us a great sense of progress, so whether they’re big or small, putting yourself in a position that you can rack up meaningful accomplishments is important.
- Improve yourself: The joy we experience moving forward and progressing in our life is closely tied to the act of working to realize our potential. This could mean any number of things from our mental and physical health to skills of all kinds, work success, and relationships.
Entrepreneurship, at its core, is about thinking of some great need you can meet, problem you can solve, or value you can provide to the world and then creating a business centered around that. Entrepreneurship is the perfect vehicle for realizing the joy and fulfillment of progress in your life because it’s all about challenging yourself in myriad ways to accomplish new and different things. By doing so, you’re working on both of the above points at once:
- You’re utilizing all of your available skills and having to acquire new skills you don’t yet have, stretching beyond your current self to something bigger and better.
- And you’re working to accomplish something either you or potentially no one else has ever accomplished before. Entrepreneurship is synonymous with innovating, as entrepreneurs are often those who think of new and improved ways of doing things in virtually every field known to man. In other words, they make a business of problem-solving. This leads to very challenging and rewarding work.
If you’re serious about finding true joy and fulfillment in your life, entrepreneurship may just be the perfect vehicle for helping you realize that. And the cool thing is, it’s easier than ever to make a business out of something you actually enjoy doing.
How to get started right
If you’re already on the road of entrepreneurship, you’ve likely already felt the joy of moving towards your potential. However, don’t think that there isn’t room for improvement. Most entrepreneurs I know are making one huge mistake that will still keep you from experiencing much of the ‘happiness of progress’ we’ve discussed thus far. And if you’re new to entrepreneurship, this mistake is also the first and most important place you should start in your entrepreneurial journey:
1. Be authentic (pick something you love)
Take a moment to ask yourself honestly, if money weren’t an issue, what would you do? Your answer might be something you can pursue as a business. This is especially true because of the internet nowadays where someone can create a video series or blog and build a business through their content on a topic you would never have been able to build a business around in the past, generating revenue with advertising or digital products and services (or anything else, really).
If you don’t yet know what that thing is for you, look at all the things you’ve ever loved to do and see if any of those things would make sense as a business. The most important questions here are, “Does this excite me?”, and, “Could I see myself doing this for the rest of my life?”.
2. Find someone who’s done it before
Feel free to do something completely new and unique. That can be amazing, profitable, and truly rewarding. But it’s risky. Finding someone (preferably more just one person or company) who has done something close to what you’re thinking of doing before is validation that there is a need or desire for the product or service. The idea is that you want to validate your idea by finding others who have been successful at it and then do it just a bit differently — unique to your personality — so that you stand apart from the crowd.
In business, you want to carefully plan your steps and get as much of a guarantee that your next step will be a success as possible. That’s why big brands test everything they do and hold things like focus groups. Picking something that no one else has done before is uncharted, and therefore, is less likely to be successful. If you can find 3 people or businesses who have done something like it before? That’s great news. In addition, this will help you build your business because you’ll have relevant examples to learn from.
3. Take the first step (get moving)
From here, it’s pretty simple: don’t procrastinate. Get out there and take the first relevant step towards starting your business. Think of something quick and easy you can do to get out there and get started. It can be something as simple as a Google search, phone call, cleaning a room for space to do your work, or taking down a few notes. This will motivate you to do more and generate momentum.
A good first step? Up your skills by gathering some knowledge about entrepreneurship from experts.
Whatever that first step is for you, it’s important to get moving. Happiness and fulfillment are experienced when we get that sense of progress from going after our goals and dreams. So, get moving.