Rewire your brain for opportunities

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BIA flatecoverAre you missing opportunities because you are dwelling too much on the negatives? What is it about entrepreneurs that enables them to spot opportunities?

A professor from a university running an entrepreneurial course recently explained that entrepreneurs need to rewire their brains for positivity. He said it was important for opportunity awareness to have an optimistic attitude.

One of the tools for increasing optimism, he said, was that you could list five things that you are grateful for. Have you ever done this exercise? Does it sound silly or have you tried it out and has it worked for you?

If I were to list five things that I am grateful for right now they would be:

– My 10 fingers and hands are in working order
– I am able to walk
– I am grateful that I have a daughter and son
– I am grateful for my health
– I am grateful for the people who support me

I think that more than anything else this little exercise opens our minds to the resources that we have in our lives. It also reminds us of the many things that we have – I’m not talking possessions here – that enable us to perform at our best. Some people believe that repetitive positive thought and positive activity can rewire your brain. Some medical doctors claim that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself and form new neural pathways.

Whatever the science or explanations for optimistic thinking, let’s face it that you aren’t going to spot entrepreneurial opportunities if your brain is caught in a negative thinking trap or spiral.

If you were asked to come up with or identify opportunities that you could transform into a business proposition, then how would you go about doing it? Where would you look for these opportunities? How would you go about doing it?

Those who follow the same patterns of thinking, the familiar trodden pathways instead of trying out new things and doing different things, may have trouble if they put themselves to the test to come up with not only new ideas but find ways to identify opportunities. Simply, if you don’t normally think in terms of abundance it may be difficult to spot the opportunities that may be right front to you.

In this tough economy where things that may have worked in the past and now don’t or maybe are declining in popularity, smart thinking skills and attitudes are required for responding to new challenges. Opportunity identification is an important key to entrepreneurship. Even if you don’t come up with a new product, service or solution but develop and promote a product or service that someone else owns, you will still need to clearly see the opportunity in the business. The same goes for a second-hand business. The second-hand business may provide you with an opportunity to reshape it or add products or services that could make the business perform a lot better.

If you are used to criticising rather than praising whether it be people or products or services, perhaps forcing yourself to see more positives in a situation could also help strengthen your opportunity awareness. You might want to practice the 7-to-1 ratio of positive to negative comments. If you are tempted to criticise your idea, perhaps you can come up with 7 positive things about it before you dismiss it.

Opportunities arise from connections between ideas, people, resources and even data. Manufacturing your own optimism can help opportunities pop up more frequently and perhaps some of them could be profitable.

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