Whether or not it's intentional, entrepreneurs can't do anything without having an impact on other people. We hear about their successes and failures in the news, read about their invaluable life lessons and tweet at them for business advice. A huge portion of an entrepreneur's impact takes the form of impacting communities, hiring people in need of help, and similarly philanthropic results. But entrepreneurs are shaping the future in more than one way -- they're imparting lessons to children.
Classrooms teach children about history and math but there's more to life than algebra and reciting the dates of all the World Wars. I will honestly admit that I don't ever recall using anything I learned in my history classes in my day-to-day life but I do wish someone taught me about the ins-and-outs of life as an adult.
These are lessons that every child needs to learn, and entrepreneurs are more than qualified to teach them. These teachings are powerful and make a genuine impact, and they're lessons that I strive to pass on to my two sons as they continue to explore the world they live in. Here are the valuable lessons I think entrepreneurs are teaching that you won't find your textbook.
Your Success is Tied to Your Motivation
It's always a battle trying to get my kids to clean up their rooms -- they just don't have the motivation to do it and it's usually me who does the cleaning in the end. And I myself feel that same lack of motivation when it comes to tackling those projects I've been dreading for weeks. But as entrepreneurs it's our job to get tasks done, regardless of how grim or difficult the situation may seem.
In entrepreneurship, your success is closely tied to how motivated you are: if you don't work, some days you literally don't eat. An entrepreneur stays motivated because their business is determined by their actions and kids can see the value of pouring your heart and soul into a business you believe in. Through my own business ventures, I try to set an example to my own kids that working hard and staying motivated even when times are tough can lead to success. It's easy to give up in the face of discouraging experiences, but those who persevere can greatly improve their situation.
Being Nice To Others Will Open Doors
Another great lesson that entrepreneurs can teach kids is that being nice to others will open doors and create opportunities. Great business ventures start by being polite and engaging with other people. You never know where opportunities can arise, and the easiest way to open a new door is to adopt a nice mindset when interacting with others. When kids are taught this early on, they learn that rudeness and a poor attitude will only hold them back.
Think of entrepreneurs who regularly fail -- their heads are in the clouds and they don't respect others. Conversely, great and successful entrepreneurs see the value in everyone and do what they can do to learn from them. It encourages them to be pleasant to those around them, but it also teaches them how to see great opportunities. Kids who see entrepreneurs using kindness instead of arrogance to achieve their goals will learn to also be kind to achieve what they want. It's a win-win, and it'll help raise a generation of future entrepreneurs.
It's OK To Fall, As Long As You Stand Up Again
Kids fall down quite a bit -- I should know, my two boys were always finding ways to injure themselves while playing. They stumble, they trip, and they occasionally fail. Much like many adults, my kids get upset when they do and I'm sure other parents will say the same thing. After all, it's disheartening to fall. But children need to understand that this is completely OK, and entrepreneurs are incredibly qualified to teach this lesson. By nature, entrepreneurs fall down and I myself have fallen quite a lot. However, there's no shame in falling. In fact, falling offers a unique lesson on how to stay determined and fight for success.
Entrepreneurs can teach children that falling is OK, but that accepting it and staying down is true failure. Everything won't always go smoothly or according to plan, and that's alright. It also teaches kids that perfection is not a realistic goal. The key to success isn't being perfect; it's learning from your mistakes and applying those lessons to your life as you move on to bigger and better things.
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