Nearly all successful people will tell you that mindset is everything. Here are a few practical ways stay centered and balanced amidst the chaos of entrepreneurship. My life has changed for the better by making the choice to practice three cognitive skills that I’d like to share with you.

1. Eliminating “Should”

Whenever I catch myself saying to someone “you should do…”, I remember how it feels when people tell me what I “should” do. Then, I try to find a way to make my point without telling them what to do. For instance, instead of “you should talk to so and so” I might say “when I had a similar problem, I talked to so and so and that made all the difference”. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Black Belt: Try eliminating “should” entirely from your vocabulary, even when applied to yourself.

2. Replace “No” with “Yes! And…”

This one comes from an improv class I took once. Here’s the move:

  • Them: “I’d really like to talk to you about my brilliant idea to create better widgets”
  • Me: “That would be fine once my schedule clears up after my big deadline. Check back with me in 3 weeks and we’ll schedule a 10 minute call to see if I can help you somehow.” Always keep your mind and opportunities as open as possible.

3. What if it is possible?

Our human brains evolved in a time of scarcity. In those times, it was more important to eliminate uncertainty than to go exploring. Unknown paths could lead to danger. However, in the information/creative economy we live in today, that self-preservation instinct can become our biggest roadblock to success.

Always remain clear with yourself that mental exploration is just that — exploration, not commitment to action. What’s wrong with “going there” from time to time? After all, what if it is possible to live forever?

What do your cognitive workouts look like? Sharing the thoughts or practices that keep you sharp can be helpful to others and serve as a great reminder to yourself!

About the author

Rafe Furst

Rafe Furst

Rafe is an entrepreneur, impact investor, writer, producer and poker player. Beginning in Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s, Rafe has founded, invested in and advised dozens of startups, including Pickem Sports, Full Tilt Poker, and Crowdfunder. To date, his companies have generated over $1 Billion in revenue and $450 Million in liquidity to stakeholders.

An avid poker player, he’s won a World Series of Poker Championship, produced an award-winning instructional video, and has helped raise millions of dollars for cancer prevention and other charitable causes. Rafe is a pioneer in Quantitative Venture Capital, a nascent field based on the convergence of equity crowdfunding, complexity economics and securities law reform.