A propensity for personal growth is one of the most valuable attributes one can have. To be a successful entrepreneur, you are going to face a lot of challenges throughout your life. Learning and growing from them is the only way to continue moving forward, improve your situation and stay motivated. Therefore, you have to develop mental toughness and a willingness to adapt to life. There are countless ways to develop this toughness by enacting certain mental exercises.
Here are 10 mental exercises, specifically, that you can begin today, to make you a better entrepreneur:
Take a time audit.
Sit down and evaluate how you are spending all of your time. Doing so will give you an idea of whether your actions match your goals and interests. We might have dreams and desires that we are doing nothing to work towards. Taking a step back to look at where your time goes is a great way to realign your actions and decision-making with what you would like to be doing.
Write 5 things you’re grateful for each day.
For two weeks, each night before bed, write down five things that you were grateful for throughout the day. They could be little, like someone holding the door for you, or larger, like having a loving family. Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude tend to be happier and more appreciative of their lives. This appreciation can be turned into energy each day, making you more effective and optimistic, both valuable traits for an entrepreneur.
Learn a new skill.
Challenge yourself to learn something new. Bonus points if it is something that you have always wanted to learn but never felt like you could.
It is easy to fall into a routine where the majority of the work you are doing is execution-based instead of involving significant levels of thought. Learning a new skill is a great way to get your brain really working. Plus, it will give you an opportunity to get good at something you might have been thinking about for a while.
Find someone who disagrees with a strongly-held belief that you have and talk to them about it.
It is not often that we are challenged on our convictions. While that makes life easier since we do not have to always defend our stances, it means we do not have to really think about why we believe in the things that we do. Find something that you believe deeply and talk with someone who feels the exact opposite.
Listening to their arguments and refuting them is a stimulating mental exercise. Plus, you will walk out of the conversation with new perspectives and either a deeper belief in your original thought or a changed notion. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be able to think deeply and challenge your preconceived notions. This type of mental exercise is great practice for that.
Mentally audit your friends.
We are the average of the five people that we surround ourselves with the most. Therefore, it is extremely valuable to take an audit of who you spend time with. What value are they adding to your life?
It does not have to be tangible, such as a rich friend that takes you on vacations. A friend that makes you laugh or that warms your heart to be around is just as, or more, valuable. You would be surprised by the number of people in your life that you do not have great reasons to spend time with.
And, by the amount who you love but do not spend enough time with. Taking this audit can help you spend more time with those who you truly enjoy being around and less with those you do not. That will ultimately make you a happier, more productive, person.
Find a piece of yourself from the past to see how you have changed.
Whether it is an old journal entry, a past essay for a class, or even a photo, it is thought-provoking to look at your past. It gives you an idea of the ways in which you have changed since then. It can also remind you of beliefs/values that you hold dear. Looking back can serve as a refresher for why you used to feel a certain way. That can often reveal ways that you are living contrary to your values and help you realign.
Reading is one of the best mental exercises out there. It is a great way to accumulate new knowledge, ideas and, perspectives. Plus, some reading, which tends to be fiction for most people, is purely enjoyable. It is easy to make excuses not to read, but even finding 15 daily minutes to sit down and indulge can widen your perspective and give you more tools to tackle problems.
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks throughout your day.
There is a significant amount of dead time that we have each day between commuting, getting ready, eating meals, and waiting around. Sometimes it is good to give your head some empty time to decompress. Often, though, that time is spent thinking about nothing of value. Instead, listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
This will give you a chance to learn about other’s experiences, and keep up-to-date with what is happening in the world. Obtaining this audio content is easier today than ever before, so take advantage.
Spend as much time as you can without letting your mind wander.
It is challenging not to let your mind wander. Being able to develop this skill, though, is extremely valuable. It allows you to be totally present in each situation and experience life more fully. Go an entire day trying to be as present as possible.
When your mind begins to think about the past or another situation, it is okay. Just recognize it and try to get out of your head. This can be mentally challenging but will pay large dividends. Total presence will allow you to commit more mental energy to solving problems and navigating daily tasks.
Challenge yourself to do something you never thought you could.
We are capable of far more than we might believe. You could forego eating for 3 days, sleep 4 hours a night for a week, or go run 10 miles tomorrow. While you could argue that these are more physical exercises than mental ones, they contain just as much of a mental hurdle. You do not have to put your body at harm to challenge yourself, either.
Instead, find something that you have wanted to do but did not believe you could. Commit to following through on it, and do so. Whether this is an exercise, a new diet, or a daily routine, picking something up and proving to yourself that you can do it is empowering. It shows you that anything is possible, which is a much-needed mindset as an entrepreneur.