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How to Be Become a Successful Entrepreneur According to Aristotle

Ravi Rajan is a software program director working in India. He writes articles on management and entrepreneurship with a twist of history.

The Aristotle Guide to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

The Aristotle Guide to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

What Can Today’s Entrepreneurs Learn From Aristotle?

Thousands of years ago, a guy named Aristotle had lots of ideas about everything from religion and ethics to medicine and entrepreneurship.

And in the 21st century that emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurship, Aristotle was an entrepreneur with his own school of thought. He was also greatly aided by the fact that, as the tutor of Alexander the Great, he had access to vast resources that enabled him to follow and execute many of his ideas.

In the sixth book of The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle discusses the fourth of five most important capabilities people need to have for attaining true knowledge and thus becoming successful entrepreneurs: Intuition.

Aristotle says that, while science has the ability to get at the truth about invariable/eternal things by using demonstrable logical processes like induction and syllogism, we still need to bootstrap this process by using our own intrinsic knowledge about those invariable/eternal things; something that we couldn’t have acquired by science.

Aristotle calls this intrinsic knowledge as intuition which he calls as one as one of the original “first principles” of success.

Aristotle’s point is simple. Intuition is the way we start knowing everything and knowledge gained by intuition must anchor all other knowledge. In fact, this way of gaining knowledge is so foundational that justification is impossible.

That’s because knowledge by intuition is not based on a series of facts or a line of reasoning to a conclusion. Instead, we know intuitional truth simply by the process of introspection and immediate awareness.

And this “immediate awareness” of the truth is the secret behind some of the most successful entrepreneurs. From Steve Jobs to Richard Branson to Warren Buffet, the intuitives are generally successful in whatever they do, because they can see things more clearly and find the best solutions to problems more quickly than others.

No doubt, all these individuals have a huge storage of expert knowledge and experience. But they also seem to have an abundance of intuition that comes naturally to them and which enables them to grasp the essence of complicated problems and find uncannily right solutions.

And here are some ways to develop and amplify intuition.

Pay Attention to Your Gut

Pay Attention to Your Gut

Pay Attention to Your Gut

You should always pay close attention to that "gut feeling," "inner voice" or a "sixth sense,", even if it seems irrational to do so.

That is your intuition alerting you that there is an unforeseen event or new discovery that is going to turn around your life 360 degrees. From nagging thoughts to uncomfortable feelers of anxiety, doubt, wonder or curiosity – your body gives out signals like goosebumps, discomfort in your gut, a feeling of relief, or a sour taste in your mouth to inspire or tell you when something is amiss. Positive gut feelings often mean you are on the right track and negative ones mean that some course correction is required.

And the interesting thing is that these feelings are not randomly generated. These are created based on data that is perfectly observable, measurable, and quantifiable.

As Psychologist Bruce Pfau tells us.

“Your feelings aren’t random; they’re based on something that’s observable and measurable. But you can’t take reliable action until you start identifying what that is.”

For example, if you are considering a partnership for your start-up with someone and you feel uneasy with that person.

Is he not what he seems? Is he hiding a bad track record? is he too complacent? Pfau suggests free-associating; jot down everything you are feeling about that guy. Don’t leave anything out.

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Let your gut flow on paper uninhibited. It might be helpful also to enlist someone else as a sounding board to guide your reflection. Then test your feelings against available data.

Develop the habit of checking with yourself every time you embark on somebody new, “does it sound right?”, “does it sound wrong?”. Analyze the gut outcome objectively and dispassionately to make the right decision.

Dedicate Time to Listen to Your Intuition Each Day

Dedicate Time to Listen to Your Intuition Each Day

Dedicate Time to Listen to Your Intuition Each Day

Life is a rat race and, in our rush, to strike off items from our to-do lists, it’s easy to forget to stop and tune into our higher intelligence.

So that is why you should devote some time to sit in silence and listen to your intuition. Encourage yourself to give your intuition center-stage. This is especially important when you need to make any important decisions. Be sure to take some time to sit with your intuition and look inside yourself for the answers before you choose which path to take.

As Richard Branson rightly says.

"I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics."

You can follow a simple 3-step process to tap into your intuition every day.

  • Ask questions: Be specific about the information you need and the answers you are looking for. The clearer are the questions, the better will be the answers.
  • Write down the answers: Neuroscience research indicates that intuitive insights not captured within 37 seconds will likely never be recalled again. That is why it is always a good practice to start a journal and write down all the answers. Regular journaling can give amazing clarity of thought.
  • Take immediate action: There is no point in receiving wisdom if you don’t act on it. Every time you act on the intuition, you open the channel between your subconscious and conscious mind even wider and your intuition grows stronger and wiser with every action.

Remember, the more faith you demonstrate in your intuition, the more effective the results will be.

Distinguish Between Fear and Intuition

Distinguish Between Fear and Intuition

Distinguish Between Fear and Intuition

Fear and intuition are easily confused, and that has to do with the fact that they are both experienced as a “gut feeling”. But there is a marked difference in which they are conveyed to us.

According to Emily Fletcher, meditation instructor and founder of Ziva Meditation, one characteristic of the intuitive voice is that it leads us toward the creative. Intuition is about being present, calm, affirming, and patient. It’s not the sort of voice that yells, criticizes, or demeans us. Rather, intuition is a gentle guide that’s attempting to lead us onto a better track.

As Emily says.

“Intuition whispers. Write that book, call that guy, start that company. It’s very hard to hear that little tiny whisper of intuition if you’ve got the fear voice screaming in your head.”

For example, say to yourself,” I am going to invest my hard-earned money and create this product.”

Now, scan your body. Do you feel the excitement, such as feelings of joy or enthusiasm? Alternatively, do you feel like you are making a mistake? Does your chest or stomach feel tight or constricted? Again, write about these feelings and see where it takes you.

Now do the same in reverse and see what happens.

"I am not going to invest my money now till I get surer about the product’s feasibility"

Remember the two most important things that differentiate between fear and intuition are.

  • Intuition is only about the present. It does not reflect past psychological wounds.
  • Intuition being neutral, unemotional, whereas fear is highly emotionally charged.

Remember, reliable intuition politely, yet firmly, speaks when there is trouble. It does not feed our ego, rather it puts us on the correct path by activating our deep knowledge within us.

Lastly, Intuition Requires Effort to Be Put in

Lastly, Intuition Requires Effort to Be Put in

Lastly, Intuition Requires Effort to Be Put in

Intuition is not a magic pill that you pop and voila, you get all the answers. It does not work like that.

We need to clearly distinguish between diligent Intuition and thoughtless intuition. Diligent intuition is when you probe, question, use your brain and share rational arguments. You support your inner voice by logical arguments and use it to make the right decision. This is the most trusted way to use intuition and is the one that successful entrepreneurs use.

Thoughtless intuition, on the other hand, is armchair intuition. You trust your intuition blindly without validating it by rational arguments, real data points or even further probing to get to the truth. This is daydreaming at its worst and is a recipe for disaster. This will surely lead you to a wrong path, sooner or later.

Successful people equally rely on their intuition as much as their business brains. They trust and follow their gut feelings and hunches that tell them whether to drop a project or proceed with it despite odds heavily stacked against them. Indeed, some of the most iconic partnerships, products and theories were born from intuition.

And the more you exercise that sixth sense, the more successful you will be. You can increase your efficiency and avoid calamities before they arise. Just tune into yourself and listen to that little, powerful voice whispering to you and discover yourself.

As Henri Poincare has rightly said.

“It is through science that we prove, but through intuition that we discover.”


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 26, 2021:

Thanks Peggy for your comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2021:

As you mentioned, intuition may lead somewhere, but it is best to back it up with research and hard work.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 26, 2021:

Thanks Audrey

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 26, 2021:

My "gut feeling" has never failed me. There have been times when I've ignored my intuition leading me to wish I had followed its warning. Thank you for this important message and reminder. Well done!

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 25, 2021:

Thanks Gyanendra

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 25, 2021:

Ravi, I have learnt exactly how how to manage my life with intuition from your adticle.

Thank you.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 25, 2021:

Thanks Linda for your comments

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 25, 2021:

This is an interesting article. It’s got me thinking about intuition and its importance. Thank you, Ravi.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 25, 2021:

ravirajan01 You share informative and well-researched hubs. You write daily and share with us your knowledge of all sorts. Thank you

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 25, 2021:

Thanks Umesh

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 25, 2021:

Well correlated and well presented.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on May 25, 2021:

Thanks, Bill. Aristotle's profound wisdom is still very much valid after more than 2000 years !!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 25, 2021:

Aristotle was my kind of guy. It would have been fascinating to sit down with him and have a chat. Great article!

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