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Think Like An Entrepreneur

How to think like an entrepreneur and move ahead in the face of uncertainty.

In college, did you ever get so stoned that you became part of your couch?

Stoners call it “couch lock,” but as Scott Adams points out in Loserthink:

You don’t have to smoke marijuana to experience couch lock. We’ve all experienced times when we wanted to get up and do something useful but we couldn’t talk ourselves into it.

Indeed… we all get stuck. And typically it’s not because we’re ripped out of our minds.

Smart and productive people often get stuck for a couple of reasons:

  • Goal overwhelm: we become overwhelmed when we think about everything that needs to get done to accomplish some huge goal and so we do nothing instead.

  • Analysis paralysis: we try to imagine the best possible next move, when in reality humans are way too stupid to be able to understand reality perfectly.

Unfortunately, good luck doesn’t come to people who sit around and do nothing. It’s attracted to people who act.

So when we find ourselves failing to take action on something important to us, we can borrow some inspiration from how entrepreneurs think.

When it comes to taking action…

Entrepreneurs take frequent, low-stakes steps towards their goals

While entrepreneurs often have grand, sweeping visions for the future, they think in micro-steps when it comes to execution.

Virgin Airlines first launched with a single chartered flight, not a fleet of Boeing 757s.

Similarly, if you’re too stoned to get up off the couch, try wiggling your pinky first.

Then wiggle some more fingers.

Then your wrist.

And so on until you’ve regained control of your body.

From Loserthink:

When entrepreneurs don’t know how to get from A to B, they take the smallest step in that direction that is available to them and then see if they can figure out the next one from the new starting point.

“I want to write a New York Times bestseller,” might make you feel impossibly far behind. But opening up a new Google Doc is pretty easy.

And War And Peace, like every bestseller before it, was written One. Word. At. A. Time.

Similarly, if you want to start a company that will revolutionize the food industry but you’re spinning your wheels trying to figure out the “perfect” strategy, maybe you could start small instead:

Why this matters for generalists

Generalists take a cross-disciplinary and unique approach to taking advantage of opportunities.

In the absence of a playbook to copy, the next move can often seem unclear.

We can fight this resistance by thinking like an entrepreneur and taking the smallest possible next step toward our goal.

Question for us

What’s something that’d take us 10 minutes to do today but get us one step closer to something we care about?


Thank you to Chris Sheffield for feedback on an early draft of this. And thank you to Loserthink for the inspiration for this mental model.

This post was first sent in a Stew’s Letter, a weekly-ish email for ambitious, curious people. You can join below:

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