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Over the years, I’ve used the phrase “resilience, determination, genius and commitment – to describe qualities needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. Although many well-known modern day entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and our own Mark Shuttleworth has to a large extent not only done plenty to promote entrepreneurship but also to a large extent perhaps glorified it as a profession.

But entrepreneurship cannot be mistaken for a easy way out, get rich quick profession as it very seldom is. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that it takes extreme commitment, passion, determination and often a bit of luck to get to the top.

 Every day we deal with business plans that fail and those who succeed. What’s the difference? In the long run you have to say resilience plays a large role.

 Resilience comes from believing in your idea working long days in the trenches and knowing more about that trench than anyone else. It’s the 10,000 hours principle that Malcolm Gladwell highlighted in his book Outliers – that to become an expert in anything you need to have spent at least 10,000 hours doing it. You may not always be the most talented guy on the block or be naturally gifted but commitment, hard work and resilience will get you there if you do the little things right. If you do your market research, invest in R&D, hire the right team treat your clients with respect and review and adjust on the regular basis.

 The value of sweat and toil is not a revelation, but some new studies have unveiled the neuroscience of resilience and its role in achieving goals. These psychologists have measured resilience and compared its role in success compared with intelligence and innate talent. Guess what? Resilience plays a huge role. “Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard, and that’s what resilience allows you to do”, say the psychologists who led the study. I know this first hand.

 Personality traits, as I’ve mentioned with salespeople, can play a much larger role in personal achievement than mere intelligence alone. In fact, people who are told their whole life how smart they are may well be at a disadvantage. Better to praise your kids for working hard than being smart.

 Why do some people suffer real hardships and not falter? What exactly is that quality of resilience that carries people through life? In this article from the Harvard Business Review, Diane Coutu asks these questions and concludes that the answers apply to organizations as well as individuals.

 Coutu agrees with those who argue that resilience can be learned. So-called "resilience trainers" are in demand because, as one of them observes, "More than education, more than training, a person's resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That's true in the cancer ward, it's true in the Olympics, and it's true in the boardroom."

 After researching many theories, Coutu concludes that resilient individuals share three unique traits:

 • a resolute acceptance of reality;

• a sense that life is meaningful;

• an exceptional ability to improvise.

 The author argues that these traits exist in resilient organizations as well.

 For an entrepreneur, the first key to building resilience is asking, "Do I truly understand-and accept-the reality of my situation? Does my business?" entrepreneurs should resist the tendency to slip into denial as a coping mechanism. Facing the truth head on can be a matter of survival.

 As an entrepreneur you need to

1. face internal and external challenges and opportunities without sugarcoating them-and create strategies for dealing with or exploiting them;

2. utilize the meaning-making power of communicating and developing mission, vision, values as well as short-term goals with staff;

3. encourage the innovation and creativity of staff while creating an orderly process for dealing with normal operations.

 Starting and running a business will not be easy, I can guarantee you that. It will be tough, it will take plenty of energy, late nights, blood sweat and tears. But it will be fun, rewarding and I can promise you that once you have started you won’t want to do anything else.

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