A large percentage of entrepreneurs overthink this and get way too complex in their quest for improvement. When in fact, to garner a competitive edge and forge your unique trail, it simply comes down to asking yourself each day, "How am I wrong?"
It may seem counter-intuitive to ask this question. Do it anyway. When you continually ask yourself "How am I wrong?" you become more curious. And curiosity will benefit you as an entrepreneur in these three ways:
1. You'll stay mentally sharp.
Just as you build your legs up in the gym with continual and frequent exercising for long lasting strength, your mind operates the same way. Routinely asking yourself "How am I wrong?" strengthens your mind and prevents any sort of complacency from setting in.
By staying curious, you'll be able to see new worlds and possibilities that wouldn't normally be visible to your eye. Successful leaders such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos don't blindly make assumptions. Instead, they approach each problem like a scientist and continually experiment and gather data before forming a definite solution.
It's quite easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know enough about your subject, especially once you've been in the industry for years. But you mustn't do this.
Always operate with a beginners mindset. To build your curiosity muscle, adopt the Ray Dalio philosophy of "How do I know", which was shared in a Business Insider video. Dalio began to use this after he inaccurately predicted the stock markets behavior.
2. You'll earn more respect from peers and teammates.
Whether it was trying to earn respect from professors in grad school and later down the road earn the respect of my fellow entrepreneurial peers, I thought that sharing everything I knew would earn me respect more hastily.
The opposite was true.
Once I started to admit to my lack of knowledge on something or simply ask my team "How am I wrong" or "How can we improve", I forged deeper levels of trust. This happens because I was displaying vulnerability and humility. This reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis:
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."
You can accomplish your goals quicker with others. But they will only be willing to go to battle with you if they trust you. And there isn't any other way to gain more concrete trust than openly admitting you're wrong or that you could possibly be.
3. You'll make a bigger impact and become more unmistakable.
When you ask yourself "How am I wrong?" you're creating the space to truly create something unique.
Steve Jobs was an avid student and admirer of art and beautiful objects. This leads him to create Apple products that work well and look extremely attractive to the customer. He essentially created an experience. It wasn't just a phone or tablet. Instead, it was also serving as his iteration of an aesthetical masterpiece that no one else was doing.
How can we create our masterpieces? The barrier of entry into business and various markets is low which means standing out takes more effort. Doing a good job is expected but that isn't enough to truly stand out. There plenty of good marketers. Just like in my industry, there are plenty of great executive health coaches.
In marketing, many people design and create funnels. How can you make the experience unique and richer for the customer? An easy way is to look outside your industry and then bring those new ideas into the everyday industry norms.
Curiosity is a trait that extends from Thomas Edison to Leonardo da Vinci and to Albert Einstein. You don't have to possess a high IQ to be curious. Instead, ask yourself "How am I wrong?" on a daily basis--and actually listen to your answers--to ensure rapid growth and evolution.