A thin line separates the temperament of an entrepreneur from a person who could use psychiatric help. Many successful entrepreneurs possess personality quirks that, if expressed in great amounts, would qualify as full-on mental illness.
How does your psychological profile dovetail with your entrepreneurial ambitions? Here are five traits found among the rubble of the unconscious and conscious minds of successful entrepreneurs.
Extraversion is an aspect of personality that fuels sociability, assertiveness, and ambition–what the non-entrepreneur thinks makes you a “pain in the ass.” But it’s a valuable trait for entrepreneurs, who spend a lot of time interacting with employees and customers, and constantly sell all of them on the value of the business.
Openness to experience
A person with this trait is open to novel experiences and ideas, and is imaginative, innovative and reflective—important attributes for entrepreneurs, who must explore new ideas and take innovative approaches to develop new products and markets.
Are you cooperative, trusting, forgiving, tolerant, courteous, and soft hearted? Then you are agreeable—if that’s OK with you. Unfortunately, agreeable people are less likely to start businesses because they are less likely to pursue their own self-interest, drive difficult bargains, or use others to achieve their objectives. Less than agreeable people are more skeptical than others, endowing them with a critical approach to assess business situations.
This trait is associated with dependability, hard work and perseverance. Entrepreneurs need a generous supply of this trait, since they need to be organized and deliberate to achieve their goals. They also need to be persistent and put in the hard work necessary to overcome obstacles, like cost overruns, and pesky party guests and clubbers who make inane song requests.
Anxious? Worried? Insecure? Embarrassed easily? Emotional? If you possess these traits, chances are you’re not emotionally stable—rather, you’re neurotic, and if you’re a woman, we’ve probably dated you. Emotionally stable people are more likely to start their own businesses than are neurotic people, because entrepreneurs can tolerate stress to cope with the hard work, risks, social isolation, pressure, insecurity, and financial difficulties that accompany starting a business. Entrepreneurs cannot worry excessively, and need to be resilient when setbacks occur. Moreover, they can endure stressful and highly unstructured environments where the separation between family life and work life is often fuzzy.