As we've mentioned before, an important part of being an entrepreneur is having a tolerance for ambiguity. What does this mean? It means a person is able to handle stress even if they don't know what's going to happen in the near future. This is highlighted in Unit 3 of our Entrepreneur Journey curricula.
Tolerance for ambiguity is an important trait as an entrepreneur because, at times, you won't be able to predict the future. An entrepreneur faces a range of uncertainty, from not knowing if an investor will put money into a product to being unsure if they can pay rent for the next month. If the thought of these problems makes your chest tighten and blood pressure rise, your tolerance for ambiguity might be a little on the lower end.
So what's an eager, potential entrepreneur to do? Luckily, there are things we can practice, some in our everyday life, to increase our tolerance for ambiguity and make the unknown a little less scary.
Here are four ideas.
Visit a foreign country with an unfamiliar language
Speaking from experience, nothing takes you out of your element quite like going to a country where you don't know the native language. The simple comforts of everyday life that most of us take for granted are gone, such as easily ordering food in a restaurant or asking a stranger for directions.
While the experience is bound to be uncomfortable (and possibly even embarrassing) at times, it will open up your view of the world by teaching you to stay calm and confident in the face of uncertainty. Then you can take this lesson and apply it to the awkward stages of starting a new business.
Search for an unfamiliar address
Without the help of GPS or any guidance, of course.
Thanks to technology, it's pretty rare nowadays that we search for a street or building simply with our eyes. If you're part of a younger generation, driving anywhere without Siri directing may seem like a blasphemous concept. But this is not only a great way to get in touch with your inner sense of direction, it is also a way to help you trust your instincts when things aren't certain.
So, navigating the streets for an unknown location is similar to navigating your way as a new entrepreneur. See what I did there?
Visit a church with an unfamiliar religion
Religious experiences can all be so different, going to a new church to experience a different religion can feel like a completely new environment even if you attend another church regularly. You may feel unsure as you don't know the rituals and others notice you as a newcomer. But this means you will not only help increase tolerance for ambiguity, your viewpoint can expand by learning what others find important.
Out of respect, make sure to read up on the rules or customs of the church before arriving.
Ask for unique foods off of a restaurant's menu
Lots of restaurant chefs have special dishes that don't make it to the menu, only occasionally served to the curious customers who press for their most unique or interesting meals. Don't be afraid to ask the waiter for any of these options -- if it's an independently owned restaurant, there's more likely to be something.
If not, ask the waiter to surprise you. Most of us often go with the dishes we've had before and know we're bound to like, so you may be surprised how much an unfamiliar dining experience changes your day.
Do you have more ideas on how to increase tolerance for ambiguity? Let us know below!