I have been an independent entrepreneur since 1978. During that time I have written more than 400 articles and courses, built more than 400 homes and offices and been a successful long term investor. Along the way, I have written, shared and followed several of what I call “entrepreneur’s axioms.” These help me keep focused, maintain perspective and have a sense of humor. Here are some of my favorite axioms for you to consider:

• “If you can’t see over the cliff, you don’t live close enough to the edge.” Entrepreneurs must take calculated risks to succeed.

• “Are you playing checkers in the chess game of life?” There are often several levels of complexity to each situation. The ability to think critically is a key to success.

• “Finding solutions for your clients and not clients for your solutions is the fastest way to success.” It is much easier and effective to keep a current client happy than it is to find a new client.

• “If you always travel in your comfort zone, you’ll never arrive at success.” Entrepreneurs lead if they want to grow and prosper. It is a reminder there is no time to coast and rest on past accomplishments.

• “Develop eyes for opportunity. Certainly consider alternatives, but dwell on the rewards of success.” Keep looking for the good, the possible and, most of all, the overlooked.

• “Be a contrarian, sprint the curves and walk the straight-aways.” The crowd is most often wrong. Take Frost’s road less traveled and you will see that it does make all the difference.

• “If the situation gets tense, try appropriate humor. It often breaks the tension and melts the ice.” I saw a man wearing a black T-shirt. On the back it read, “I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up.” See, it works.

• “Do it now! Every day that you don’t, makes it more likely that you won’t and brings you closer to the day you can’t.” Procrastination condemns you to mediocrity.

• “Keep balance: move at a controlled high speed when working. Observe school zone limits for down time, vacations and family.” Most of us work to provide for ourselves and our families. We want them to have a good life. Be sure to take regularly scheduled times to enjoy that good life with them. Also, take time for yourself.

• “Faith is confident action taken in the face of uncertainty.” Entrepreneurs analyze an opportunity and work to slant the odds in their favor. Then they plunge in with both feet, often on faith.

Tim O’Brien writes continuing-education courses and presents seminars on stress management.

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