why entrepreneurs are smart. [infographic]

according to this infographic from entrepreneur.com, i’m pretty darn smart.  not because i say so, but because these are the habits of entrepreneurs. and that, i can assure you, i am. so i took it upon myself to elaborate on this.  if these are the traits of smart people, and if entrepreneurs in fact do have these traits, then it’s simple algebra:

if a = b and b = c, then a=c.

i’m a persistent, anxious and self-disciplined night owl that reads avidly, sets goals, and yes, drinks socially. only thing i DON’T do on the list below is do drugs – i’m good with being an underachiever in that case.  i have set out to prove then that entrepreneurs are inherently smart using my study of 1 (myself), so let’s break this down.

smart people = PERSISTENCE = entrepreneurs

first off, i’m not saying i fit in this group of geniuses. while i am not privy to my IQ, i assure you it’s not in the 160s (extraordinary genius). i probably eek by the average IQ of 100. some things come natural for me, others not so much. unlike others who got straight A’s in college, i had to put in overtime studying to pull my 3.75.  but persistence?  oh i’ve got that. entrepreneurs are inherently persistent. we have to be.  i remember in my MBA program being told (many times) that my idea to launch a company based on something as simple as fitbook was, well, not the smartest. one of the biggest challenges you face when starting a business is hearing that it won’t work. being told “no” umpteen times by potential customers by hearing that one glorious “yes”.   a close second to being persistent, is developing thick skin because often times no one believes in what you’re doing – and sometimes you even question yourself.  it can be debated whether it’s intelligence or sheer insanity, but we entrepreneurs press on.

smart people = SET GOALS = entrepreneurs

oh, i got this one. it’s my specialty. i mean if this doesn’t make me happy, i don’t know what does. [uttered in a smart-alack tone] goal setting works?  no, really? you do say. writing down, like on (gasp) pen and paper works? oh my, who would have thought!? [end rant]  given that my livelihood and life’s work is based on this fact, obviously i believe in the power of setting goals. not just for fitness + nutrition, but for life. if you knew the surest way to up your chance of reaching a goal by 21% was to write it down, i’m sure you’d keep a pen handy, right?  and then tell a friend about it and boom, you’re almost 76% to reaching your goal. 76%: funny number, that 76. that’s exactly the percentage of people who lose weight using a fitbook in the first 12 weeks. coincidence? i think not, but i digress. one thing though is surely not a coincidence: that entrepreneurs set goals. having a clear plan of action on paper is a necessity when you’re doing your own thing. most of us ‘preneurs have a load of ideas and the only way to harness them, focus, and then accomplish them is by setting goals.

smart people = READ BOOKS = entrepreneurs

got this one, hands down. when i was little, my mom joked that the librarian should have been paid to be my babysitter. not that i wasn’t an active little critter, but my happy place was in the library. as i’ve gotten older, my idea of the perfect friday night is meandering around barnes & noble. i am that person that you would never want to help offer to help move because if you do, i own more books than i do pairs of shoes – and i have a lot of shoes. do i pass the dork test? absolutely. but being labeled ‘smart’ because of it makes it a bit more palatable. for me, there are two very different reasons to read: to better yourself or to escape. entrepreneurs need both. my first inclination is to always reach for the book that teaches me something, instills me with knowledge, challenges me, or makes me think. herein lately though, i find myself not wanting to read those books as much because i already have so many thoughts, ideas, and inklings that i don’t have time to act on that the sheer thought of packing any more knowledge in my brain frankly stresses me out. that’s when it’s time to read something that accomplishes the opposite: to escape, check out, and recharge. i could write an entire post on my library, but here’s a glimpse of my must-reads. what am i reading right now? lean in (quite thought-provoking), entreleadership (again), built to sell (creating a business to thrive without you),  and on my current to-read list: daring greatly (’cause i wanna be daring), the one thing (to simplify), and love does (to focus on what really matters in life).  and yes, i buy books, preferably hardcover. and no, i have no desire to ever swipe my thumb on-screen to read. i love the smell of the pages, the visual progress as i turn each page, and the sense of satisfaction as i turn the last page and place it in my library, archiving my accomplishment

smart people = IMBIBE = entrepreneurs

okay, not all traits of entrepreneurs are admirable. we’re not perfect, even though i can attest to the fact that we try.  maybe it’s the stress, i’m not sure what, but research shows that entrepreneurs are a fun-loving, alcohol sipping, ciga-weed smoking group of peeps. in fact, they’ve found that more intelligent people tend to drink more. while i’m not a fan of the recreational drugs per se (or per at-all), i may or may not have tipped back a few brewskies (ahem, legally of course) in my younger day. now as i’ve learned the health benefits of moderation, my imbibing consists primarily of heart-healthy wine.  who knew that sipping my cabernet is not a sign of my love for wine, but merely my intelligence expressing itself?

smart people = DON’T SLEEP = entrepreneurs

guilty.  i preach sleep. i’m just not very good at it. most nights it’s not that bad, 6 or even 7 hours sleep. not too shabby. but the problem is, i get my second wind about 10pm. i hit this creative, ultra-productive streak where i accomplish the most. now, i may be be deemed useless the next morning, but by golly i will do more work from 10pm to 2am than i can sometimes accomplish in a week. perhaps why entrepreneurs are nights owls is that during the day you are pulled in a million directions, have a calendar booked back-to-back with calls or meetings, and have an inbox that seems like quicksand, filling up faster than you can reply. so for me, there’s nothing more beautiful than an evening where i’ve worked out, filled my tummy with a healthy dinner, relaxed on the couch for 1 (maybe 2) episodes on netflix, then have a stretch of 4 uninterrupted hours to crank out some serious work. i’m also a night owl because i’m a professional procrastinator and nothing drives my best work like pressure. i do not like this about myself, i’ve just come to accept it. it’s how i roll. and so far, so good.


smart people = STRESS = entrepreneurs
go figure. an entrepreneur’s future, well-being, and livelihood (not to mention our employees’) depends on our success.  and you wonder why we stress?  i truly believe that anybody that chooses to be in a relationship with an entrepreneur should be forewarned. in fact, i’m adding this to my bucket-list (which of course adds more stress): write a book on being in a relationship with an entrepreneur. like warning #241: frequent episodes of panic will ensue. but not to worry; in-explainable bouts of super-charged determination will inevitably follow.  we are special, us entrepreneurs. if you think about it, we’re practically certifiably insane. herein lies a frequently debated topic: are entrepreneurs born or made? is it a choice? my thought: we’re born, baby. you think we choose to do something for a living that entails being highly neurotic, anxious, and downright stressed out? i think not. but this is a passion that you pursue relentlessly, regardless of reason, and despite any potential downfalls.

and that my friends, is why entrepreneurs are smart.
do you agree or disagree? do tell.

now if you’ll excuse me, i’ve got something better to do like read a book with a glass of wine til the wee hours of the morning, not sleeping a wink and stressing out all the while.

[editor’s note: thank you miss kathleen davis and entrepreneur magazine for this thought-provoking infographic that inspired my rant]

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