Editor’s note: This week we are honored to welcome Anik Singal as our guest blogger. Anik started his online business over 15 years ago from his dorm room. Within just a few years, he built a $10 million a year business that made sales all over the world. To date, Anik has sold over $100 Million worth of products online, all by just using a computer and simple systems. His business allowed Anik to speak around the world, build schools in India, and meet his wife Andrea. His recently published book, eSCAPE, shows what it takes to become successful as an entrepreneur (or an intrapreneur) to build an amazing life for your family.
Every parent wants his or her child to be happy and successful. There are many paths our children could go down, and in this post I want to talk about a path that not enough of them are exposed to: entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is an approach to life that prizes taking ownership, personal discipline and problem solving. That could mean eventually starting your own business, or even being an entrepreneur within a company you don’t own (intrapreneurship).
With the right approach, you can create a family environment that encourages entrepreneurship.
It’s not easy though, because the schooling your children attend and the society they live in effectively discourage the entrepreneurial mindset.
I was actually an entrepreneur as a child, but I lost touch with my true self. It took me so long to become an entrepreneur again because I was immersed in a world that doesn’t recognize entrepreneurship as a realistic and legitimate option.
And it certainly doesn’t recognize the entrepreneurial mindset!
It wasn’t even an option for me.
I grew up in an Indian family of engineers, doctors and lawyers. Not once was the word “entrepreneur” ever mentioned to me in school or at home.
No one ever flat-out told me that I should be a doctor too, but my surroundings led to me to making that decision myself. It’s the only type of lifestyle I really knew about.
The way I grew up, my mentality was, If you become a doctor, you will get all the respect, make all the money, buy nice houses and nice cars. Then everyone will say you’re successful.
So, I worked hard to become a doctor. I even got accepted to one of the best pre-medical programs in the world.
I studied all day and night to succeed.
But then it happened.
One day, during my freshman year of college — in the midst of the chaos of studying, running to class, pleasing teachers and playing the role I was expected to play — a feeling of impending doom set in.
I had to ask myself a scary question: “Do I even want to be a doctor?”
This question changed everything. It made me reevaluate my life, which led me to changing majors, starting my first business, and eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur.
My road to becoming an entrepreneur was not easy. Not at all. I had to completely change my mindset and deprogram myself from just about everything I had learned up until then.
Now, think about if our schools and culture cultivated children’s innate entrepreneurial spirit instead of crushing it. We would have a world full of ambitious, creative problem-solvers.
It’s not hard to imagine how that would change the world.
Children Are Born Entrepreneurs
As I said before, children are bold and courageous. They’re not afraid to take on big challenges, and they’re so persistent. Children don’t stop until they get what they want.
Learning to walk is a perfect example.
They try over and over again, making a little progress each time until they’re able to walk. They don’t quit after failing on the first try. They keep going, pushing past their current limitations.
That’s the entrepreneurial spirit.
But we gradually lose this over time. As we go through life, we pick up limiting beliefs and start to lose touch with who we really are.
There are so many programmed beliefs that we pick up throughout childhood, and most of them limit us severely. They come from our families, schools and the cultures we are raised in.
Unfortunately, these beliefs keep us from achieving our true potential.
Here are some of the types of beliefs that limit us:
Beliefs About Accountability
One of the most insidious qualities within most people is a lack of personal accountability. As we grow up, we’re taught to be accountable to everyone but ourselves: parents, teachers and bosses, for example.
But to be an entrepreneur, you need to be accountable to yourself. You need to be self-motivated and inspired from a deep place within.
We need to teach this to children too.
We need to teach them to get in touch with their passions and why they want to do something to help them become self-motivated and accountable to themselves.
This is how we create a world of empowered entrepreneurs who take ownership of their lives and work towards making the world a better place.
Beliefs About Possibility
If you ever really observe what children hear, it comes down to what they can’t do. Parents are constantly telling children “no” and reinforcing what they can’t do, and teachers often do the same thing.
While some rules are necessary for safety, constantly reminding children of what they can’t do eventually causes them to shrink their idea of what’s possible. This is why most adults have such a myopic view of what’s possible for them.
Entrepreneurs, like young children, dare to dream big and work towards actualizing those dreams. Instead of making excuses as to why they can’t do something, entrepreneurs think, “How can I make this happen?”
We need to encourage children to dream big and give them the practical tools to be able to manifest those dreams.
Beliefs About Failure
As children, we’re conditioned to think that failure is bad. In school, for example, we’re taught to avoid mistakes at all costs. If you make too many mistakes on a test, you fail.
Over time, this creates a paralyzing fear of failure, which is why most people are so afraid to try new things. They want to play it safe because making mistakes is viewed as the end of the world.
But that isn’t how real life works.
To learn and grow in life, we have to expose ourselves to new and unfamiliar experiences. This means pushing our comfort zones and making mistakes.
Failure isn’t bad. And it’s not permanent either.
Failure is a learning experience that gives us the feedback that we need to keep moving towards accomplishing our goals.
Why can’t we help children cultivate this mentality?
A New Paradigm
It doesn’t take a genius to see that many of our systems are outdated and ineffective. This is especially true for the traditional American education system as well as many other education systems around the world.
We’re still trying to use a model built around industrial-age thinking for a society that is evolving faster than we can even write textbooks. It makes no sense.
Children need to be taught entrepreneurial skills in order to thrive in our rapidly changing society. I’m not saying that everyone is going to run a big business, but I do think that everyone can benefit from having entrepreneurial skills.
There is far less certainty and job stability these days. This means that being adaptable, free-thinking, persistent and self-motivated is going to be really important moving forward.
Our systems are NOT preparing people for this. However, there’s a NEW wave of entrepreneurship happening now.
It’s happening all because of the digital revolution. It’s easier than ever to start a business AND to learn about what it takes to become an entrepreneur.
We can use these resources to equip ourselves and our children with the tools necessary to thrive in this new economy.
That’s why I wrote my book, eSCAPE.
In it, I teach people how to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for thriving in this new economy. This book provides the foundation for what it takes to BE an entrepreneur in today’s economy.
It’s my life’s work.
That’s why I am giving it away for FREE. I want as many people to get their hands on this book as possible.
👉🏻👉🏻 Grab your copy for FREE here. 👈🏻 👈🏻
I want to activate the entrepreneurial mindset in people all around the world, including children.
I invite you to read it for yourself, and then I encourage you to really consider what lessons you can take away and start sharing with your children.
What do you think? How can we intentionally develop skills in our children to prepare them for a changing workplace? Share your thoughts and ideas below!