Do you agree that as a general rule entrepreneurs must be a little "irrational" in believing in themselves in order to be successful?

In his article, Jeff Haden points out there’s one essential trait every successful entrepreneur possesses: Irrational Optimism.

Answer This Question
Expert Answers
Sort by Date Sort by Votes

I most certainly do. The reality of running a business has the ability to produce negative emotions in the entrepreneur's mind, so a healthy dose of irrational optimism can help the entrepreneur make the necessary actions to succeed.


"Irrational" by whose definition?

"Those who say something can't be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it."


I believe that entrepreneurs, as a whole, could benefit from being a bit 'irrational' in believing in themselves as human beings with great potential and capacities, but should balance it with being 'rational', feet-on-ground when it comes to the very nature and commercial feasibility of their endeavors. That's the trick.


Absolutely agree, being an entrepreneur is the most challenging profession an individual will ever undertake and it requires fortitude that the "rational" person does not care to engage. The biggest challenge is that you have a vision and rarely does anyone else share or understand that vision - that is until you begin making money - and then everyone wants a piece of the action. Irrational? - Absolutely.


For me I like being identified as irrational, because the definition of "Entrepreneur" is to be a risk taker... So, I would say you have to be a little irrational if your going to take a risk.

As a "older" entrepreneur I can say that I take a lot more calculated risk now, LOL. (maybe not as irrational, age and wisdom, has taught me a few thing)


Definately! If you don't believe in yourself who else is going to???


A little irrational inasmuch as they are betting on an unknown future. The optimism comes from their belief that they can mitigate the risk or at least overcome it.


Hi Rob,
I do NOT believe I'm irrational in believing myself to be successful...just the opposite. It is rational thought and actions that create my success.
BTW here is the definition:
1. without the faculty of reason; deprived of reason.
2.without or deprived of normal mental clarity or sound judgment.
3.not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical: irrational arguments.
I do not relate to any of the 3 definitions given.
I do believe it is rational to think I can succeed even if others don't.
I do think it is rational to believe I can make a difference for my clients .
I do believe it is rational to create something that is not there because it is needed. Henry Ford said "If I had asked my customers what they needed...they would have said a faster horse"

Hello Rich, technically you are correct in order to succeed we must possess every characteristic you point out. As risk takers we are the irrational few that know we are better off creating our own destiny, against all odds. The irrational point is that we face the unknown with inspired zeal day after day, with energy and internal motivation, some days I feel like I am out of my mind, but then I look at the name on the company logo and I am inspired again - the rational essence of my irrational optimism.


Hi Rob ~

Interesting dialogue around terminology. While I agree with Floyd and Rich that rationality can propel an entrepreneur towards success, a sense of wonder and an inventive mind make the difference between just 'having a business' and building something stupendous. Two of my favorite quotes that speak to this essential left/right brain fusion are:

1) "You were once wild here. Don't let them tame you." ~ Isadora Duncan
2) "The rest of creation is waiting, breathless, for you to take your place." ~ David Whyte


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

Login to

Social Login
Login with Your Account
Forgot Password?
New to Join for Free


Sign Up with Your Social Account
Create an Account
Sign In

Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use, Community Guidelines, and Privacy Policy.

Reset Your Password

Enter your email address and we'll send you an email with a link to reset your password.