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Always Be Willing to Learn

A friend of mine who has studied various forms of martial arts for a few decades now has this saying that I feel teaches a very valuable lesson in any discipline or undertaking.

His saying: “You are always a white belt”. I think this rings true for anyone on a number of levels.

Be humble

Firstly it suggests that you are never a master of whatever discipline you are studying. With our case, entrepreneurship, it suggests that no one will ever develop a sage-like aptitude for innovative ideas that will be a hit with your market every time.

We are an imperfect species and therefore we produce failures just like we produce successes. No matter how much experience or practice you have, the one thing that is certain is that you can never be right about an idea one hundred percent of the time.

The lesson with this first point? Be humble. Recognize that your ideas are always subject to research and evaluation before committing any significant amount of resources to it, no matter how much experience you have.

Be a student

If we are always white belts, that places us on equal footing with everyone, including new students of the discipline.

Keep in mind that we all have something to learn from anyone and even the youngest or least experienced entrepreneur (or employee) has something to teach us from their own experiences.

Always look to learn, and never discount anyone else’s ideas or opinions due to their experience. Evaluate the ideas and lessons that someone offers instead of just their experience or youth alone.

Just like being humble, don’t be so quick to consider your ideas superior to another’s. Again, evaluate and keep an open mind.

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