Although a fictional character, there are five important lessons entrepreneurs can learn from ‘The Bourne Identity’s Jason Bourne.
1. Execute – Entrepreneurs sometimes find themselves procrastinating, spending too long trying to perfect their idea or product instead of getting out there (notwithstanding the efforts of Eric Riess and the MVP principle).
Bourne was always 100% action focused. Whatever the size of the challenge, Bourne never hesitated to move forward and make tangible progress towards achieving his goals. Bourne consistently executed, in more ways than one.
2. Maintain Laser Focus – Whether planning or taking action, Bourne always maintained 100% laser focus. Today’s entrepreneurs are subjected to more distractions than ever. Research from the field of ‘Interruption Science’ demonstrates that text, email and social media increase error rate and the length of time it takes to complete a task by as much as 50%.
Bourne was never distracted from his mission in order to check or update his Twitter or Facebook account. If your mission is important, kill the distractions and focus.
3. Act on Autopilot – Both in combat and when completing other tasks in pursuit of his mission, Bourne’s reflexes and actions were often automated. His ability to do this was down to his training and practice.
Research from the field of Neuroscience has established that the ability to act without thinking can be very useful at times as it frees up the processor part of our brains to deal more effectively with other challenges e.g. being able to make coffee without requiring too much thought may enable you to continue an important conversation.
The more you are able to ‘ritualize’ and schedule your more mundane tasks, the more processor power you will have available to devote to bigger challenges. Research also demonstrates that you will be more likely to follow through with ritualized, scheduled actions.
4. Develop Self belief – Despite the enormous challenges and setbacks Bourne faced, his self -belief was never shaken. Again, this in part was due to his training and programming.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has long provided us with tools to quickly remove negative beliefs and replace them with empowering ones. More recently Neuroscience has discovered that through a range of simple techniques, in addition to changing our beliefs, we can actually change the structure of our brain so that it enables us to act in a more empowered, intelligent and efficient way.
Self-belief is critical for entrepreneurial success. If you lack self-confidence, worry or experience negativity, take action to replace those states of mind.
5. Be Relentless until Completion – Once Bourne had determined his goal, he pursued it relentlessly. You never doubted he would achieve his outcome, despite the many obstacles in his path. He would not stop until he completed his mission.
Entrepreneurs often fail to complete their missions for a number of reasons, including overwhelm, exhaustion, despair or being distracted by new ideas (which causes a release of Dopamine and makes us feel good).
You must be relentless and single minded in pursuing your most important goal. This will often mean making sacrifices and you may end up upsetting those around you. But if you want to avoid looking back on your life at what you could and should have achieved, you don’t have an option.
Martin is the author of ‘Here’s the Pitch’ and Founder of the Investor Pitch Clinic.