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We have all heard the stories of depression-born individuals or penniless immigrants that scraped and saved to build a financial empire. Working against all odds to make a name for themselves, and a comfortable future for their families, they learned the value of the almighty dollar through sweat and tears. Although the conditions of the world are different than the past, that same survival instinct exists in many successful entrepreneurs today. This can be a valuable lesson to those that are thinking of starting their own business.

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While the opportunities and technology are now available to make a smoother road, none of this matters if you do not possess a survival instinct. Those that wish to be entrepreneurs in the world today may feel that those tough days are gone and things are now different to make the road smoother. However, the will for survival has decreased from the days when self-sufficiency was necessary. Physical endurance and mental clarity has been replaced with machines and software that do the work for us. As a result, climbing that same mountain has become just a dream to many would-be entrepreneurs.

A Wimpish Society

The brain is wired with defense mechanisms that react to harmful situations. Getting too close to fire, headaches from too much stress, and aggressive behavior, caused by others, are examples of how our bodies tell us to go into defense mode. However, a gentler Western society has taught us to be kind and compassionate in our aggressions. While this may act as a solution in a crowd, it can also soften our mental state to the point that no action is ever felt necessary. Get along with others, follow the crowd, and never raise your voice, has turned many into passive and weak individuals. The government has also had a hand in providing money to those in need that once had to use their minds to survive.

Learning the Hard Way

You may think that most successful entrepreneurs made their way by means of an influential family, or an endless trust fund, but looking at the figures tells quite a different story. According to Entrepreneur.com, only 27 out of the top 100 richest people on the planet, were born with a silver spoon in their mouths. The remainder were either orphans or had a poor, humble or traumatic upbringing. This may be an unpopular statement, but those without the help of unlimited resources, were better equipped to step into the world of entrepreneurship. Being ridiculed and rejected became a way of life to many who began with nothing and had nothing to lose.

An Example of No Pain, No Gain

Dennis R. Washington may not be a household name, like Walt Disney, but when you are worth $5.8 billion dollars, who cares? Dennis grew up in a poor rural community not unlike thousands of other children of the 1950s. At age 8, he contracted polio and was placed in quarantine for a year. Surprisingly, he beat the disease but was left with a leg that had to be dragged as he walked, leaving him self-conscience. Soon after, his parents divorced and Dennis felt his life sink even further. At 15, he started a summer job greasing equipment. That was it for school, a cruel and humiliating jungle. Washington watched and learned, moved to Alaska to be a heavy equipment operator and was just happy to have a job and friends. When he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, Dennis was considered a very bad prospect because of his sympathetic nature. But he had a built-in survival instinct and had learned to ignore criticism. Today, Dennis Washington is one of the country’s most noted industrialist and philanthropist. Against all odds, he was determined to work hard and make a good life for himself and those that he loved.

Are you Weak?

Getting knocked down by competitors and finding it difficult to get back up, is one of the first signs of weakness. Another is the inability to manage business funds. Getting a big head from that first string of sales can make you feel powerful and unstoppable. However, at some point in time, the money will start to dwindle from abandoning the hard work and wasting too much money. Next, the pity sets in. If I could only catch a break, those suppliers are raping me, and so on. Perhaps you need to look at all the chances you had that others have not. Find out what they did that was so unique to their success. More than likely, you will find that they were thrust into survival mode at an early age and decided to use to their advantage.

Take Charge and Succeed
The most beneficial, and challenging way to bring out your survival instinct is to learn the value of the word ‘no’. No, I don’t need a new desk, no, I don’t have to impress my friends, and no, I don’t want to fail! Build a budget that you can live within and stick to it. Give yourself a pat on the back when you are able to save from being frugal. Yes, people will call you a penny-pincher and give your office a challenging look, but it will only hurt for a few years. Remembering where you came from and how successful you have become, will bring a smile to your face whenever someone asks how you had the guts to arrive on top.

About now, you are probably wishing that you had been born poor, because recreating a survival instinct can be tough. but that’s not the point. Regardless of where you have come from or where you have been, the rules in this great country are all the same. You can arrive at whatever position you want with determination, self-discipline, an overwhelming will to keep learning. You will acquire that survival mode, without even noticing, when your will reaches that point of no return.

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