Successful inventors are resourceful and resilient. Wannabe inventors have neither of these traits. I can almost always tell in the first 2 minutes of conversation which camp the inventor falls into: resourceful and resilient; or just a wannabe.
Read on to find out how to spot resourceful and resilient inventors.
Where is the Passion? Follow the Lead
It's easy to learn what someone feels passionate about, even someone you have just met. A person who is a huge sports fan will always find a way to interject sports into a conversation.
Did you see the game last night? … or …. Are you a football fan?
In a similar way a grandmother will wax eloquently about her newest granddaughter. Put succinctly, people lead with their passion – that which is most important to them. Here are two different conversations, see if you can tell which inventor is resourceful and resilient and which is not.
Inventor A: Hi, Mr. Beckley, nice to meet you. I have a new innovative kitchen organizer invention that takes up less space and gives quicker, easier access to more items than others on the marketplace. I have made a couple of proof-of-concept prototypes on my own and have spoken with two individuals about getting a more professional prototype. One is an industrial engineering student at a nearby university and the other is a large company that creates a large variety of custom made items to order. The student is, of course, much less expensive than the company. What are your thoughts about which would serve me better for my first professional prototype? Am I on the right track?
Inventor B: Hi, Mr. Beckley, nice to meet you. Where can I find someone to make a prototype for me? Can I just make one or two prototypes? Is that enough?
Note that Inventor A immediately and enthusiastically told me about her invention and what is special about it. Next she told me what actions she has taken on his own towards prototyping her product. Only then, did she ask my opinion regarding the better choice or what actions she should take next. She lead the conversation with what was most important to her: her invention and its benefits to buyers.
Inventor B also lead with what was most important to him: having me tell him where to find a prototyper (so he wouldn't have to figure it out himself) and also expending as little effort and money as possible. He doesn't see himself to as a problem-solver, he hopes that others will do that for him.
Simply put, resourceful and resilient inventors always lead with a story describing their product and what they are doing. Wannabe inventors are like needy children: they always lead with a question – looking for someone to address and solve problems for them. They often don't even mention their invention or what it does, it's benefits. They are looking for a quick, easy success. They certainly won't find that in invention – or anywhere else in the entrepreneurial world.
Develop Your Strengths – How to Increase Your Resourcefulness and Resilience
Inventing and entrepreneurship are all about honing your skills and strengths – learning from mistakes, building on successes every day.
According to Tony Robbins, success comes from asking ourselves quality, empowering questions and then analyzing the answers.
After a disappointing setback – and there will be many along your journey – never ask yourself “why do I always fail?” This is a death spiral sort of question. It is focused on precisely on what you don't want – failure, instead of what you do want – success.
Instead, ask empowering questions like:
- What can I learn from this experience?
- What can I do to make my next presentation more impactful or clear?
- Did I ask them what, specifically, they would recommend I should do next? If no, can I email them for more detailed feedback?
The answers will point you towards key improvements you can make going forward to your next presentation or pitch. These questions direct you towards answers that will help you to succeed, rather than fail.
Regarding resilience, remember you will always get more no's than yes's but every no is one step closer to a yes.
A setback is never a failure unless you decide to quit!