10 highly effective habits

What works for entrepreneurs in the world, also works for us in our daily lives

Paulo Coelho | June 2005 issue

Pamela Hartigan, director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Geneva, drew up a list of ten traits common to people who become dissatisfied with the world around them and decide, instead, to create their own world. I think Pamela’s list goes beyond projects initiated by social entrepreneurs and could be applied to many things that we do in our daily lives.

Impatience: A person in search of her dream does not wait for things to happen; she sees yesterday’s problems as today’s opportunities.

Awareness: A person in search of his dream knows that he is not alone in this world, and that every gesture he makes has consequences. Aware of this power, he becomes an active element in society, and this leaves him at peace with life.

Innovation: A person in search of her dream believes that everything could be different from the way it is, but that, first, she must find a path that has not yet been taken.

Pragmatism: A person in search of his dream does not wait until he acquires the optimum resources required to start his plans–he rolls up his sleeves and sets to work. Each bit of progress, however small, increases his confidence and the confidence of those around him. The resources he needs always turn up.

Expertise: A person in search of her dream usually has a deep interest in a particular subject, and this detailed knowledge helps her find new solutions to old problems.

Persuasiveness: No one can survive alone in a competitive world: the person in search of his dream is aware of this and tries to get other people interested in his ideas.

Flexibility: A person in search of her dream has an idea and a plan to make that idea reality. However, as she follows her path, she realizes that she must adapt to the realities of the world.

Stubbornness: A person in search of his dream can be flexible about his path, but he is, at the same time, always focused on his goal. Because he is always moving in unknown territory, he never says: “I tried that and it didn’t work.” On the contrary, he is always looking for possible alternatives, which is why he often sees results.

Joy: A person in search of her dream encounters difficult moments, but is happy with what she does. The inevitable mistakes or blunders she makes do not make her doubt her abilities, for she is able to smile when something goes wrong—she knows she will be able to put it right later on.

Infectiousness: A person in search of his dream has the unique ability to make people around him realize that it’s worthwhile to follow his example. He will, therefore, never feel alone, even though he may occasionally feel misunderstood.

Pamela Hartigan concludes her study with the example of a young politician named Fábio Rosa, who saw how much people in his hometown of Palmares do Sul in southern Brazil were spending on non-renewable fuel for cooking and heating (see Ode, March 2005). So he set about developing a new system using solar energy. Fábio’s work, which conforms to the ten points in Pamela’s study, is now recognized worldwide; the idea caught on with several large companies, and it will soon bring benefits to millions of people, as well as contributing to protecting the environment.

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