More Empathy Means More Opportunity

A century ago, a young couple named Earle and Josephine were starting their married life together in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Earle was a cotton buyer and Josephine was a homemaker.

Josephine seemed to be perpetually dealing with burns from hot pans and nicks and cuts from sharp kitchen knives. Almost nightly, Earle would dutifully treat Josephine’s wounds with bulky bandages fashioned from adhesive tape and cotton gauze.

Earle realized that Josephine could get relief much quicker if there was a way for her to easily bandage herself after a mishap. So, he cut several squares of gauze, folded them into small pads, affixed them to strips of surgical tape, and covered each strip with crinoline to keep the tape from sticking to itself. That way he could reroll the tape, and Josephine could unwind and custom cut what she needed to dress her wounds on the spot.

Don’t Let Myers-Briggs Limit Your Opportunities

When she was 14, a girl in Chautauqua County, New York began keeping the company of a 21-year-old local hoodlum named Johnny. He was the son of a reputed gangster, indulged in liquor and gambling, and sometimes carried a gun. He also had a steady income and access to several cars, which no doubt impressed his young romantic interest.

Partly to encourage her interest in show business, but probably mostly to separate her from Johnny, the girl’s mother sent her to a prestigious school of theatre and dance 400 miles away in Manhattan.

Unlike the school’s star pupil of the time, Bette Davis, the girl did not thrive. For most of her time at the school she felt frightened, intimidated, and humiliated.

Entrepreneurial Alertness for Everybody

Entrepreneurship is essential to economic development and prosperity.

Entrepreneurs create jobs and wealth, fuel income and economic growth, increase productivity and market competition, respond to unmet market needs, change how we live and work, and drive innovation.

But for entrepreneurship to contribute so much to the economy, entrepreneurs first have to recognize opportunity. The ability to see opportunity where others don’t is sometimes referred to as entrepreneurial alertness.

How Your Emotions Influence Opportunity Evaluation

Ideas are not opportunities.

We often have great ideas, but for us to determine whether an idea represents a genuine opportunity for us, we must assess several internal and external factors.

Does this idea relate to my interest or vision? Does it suit my knowledge, skills, and experience? Do I have the resources to support its development? Does this idea have the potential to generate revenue, or to produce some other desired benefit? Are there any major personal, financial, market, legal, or regulatory obstacles that would prevent me from implementing this idea?

And sometimes we will evaluate an idea and see its opportunity, only to ultimately decide that it might be a great opportunity for someone, but that it isn’t suitable for us. At least not at the time.

Many people – most notably entrepreneurs – may be quite adept at the sum and substance feasibility analysis of opportunity evaluation. But they may entirely overlook the impact that their own emotions can have on this evaluative process.

6 Factors That Impact Opportunity Recognition

In late 2010, an entrepreneur, inventor, and lifelong tinkerer was busy in his Southern California garage working on his latest idea – a modular gardening system.

He had an annoying problem, though. He kept missing delivery people and other visitors because he couldn’t hear the doorbell from his garage.

So, he searched for a product that could send a push notification to his phone when someone rang. Not finding such a solution, he cobbled together a Wi-Fi doorbell.

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