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Quitting the “If-Then” Mind Trap to Optimize your Entrepreneurial Mindset

Do you ever find yourself caught in the bind of the “if-then” mind trap? Perhaps this token of thinking has become so deeply engrained in your repertoire of thoughts that you subconsciously operate from this space? The “if-then” trap is a pattern of thought that is conditionally formed, whether it be self-imposed, or imposed by another. It can be a stream of ideas you explicitly express through dialogue, or a cycle of thought derived from a conditioned way of thinking that is fear-oriented and has a negative effect for generative entrepreneurship.

The if-then trap contains a hypothesis followed by a conclusion. Put simply, it implies that “if X happens, then Y will happen”. For example, “if I quit my job, I will become broke” or “if I don’t have $X amount in capital, I can’t execute this project”. Often, through Pavlovian conditioning, our minds can associate the consequence of the “if-then” statement to affirm the condition. For example, if you become broke, you will deduce that it was because you quit your job. Or if your project never takes shape, you will conclude that it was due to your lack of capital.

Our brains can make connections between a particular situation and invalidly inferring its converse, even though it may not be true. After all, what is “true” in any creative endeavor is composed from your constructed reality. “If-thens” can easily place us into a vicious negative self-perpetuating cycle of expected doom and failure.

As an entrepreneur you must take the risk and forget the “if” which is the precursor to the “then”. Quitting the “if-then” trap means plunging into more of the Do’s. You must believe in your idea and pour your time and resource into that idea. Is your day job eating up your time and energy that you simply can’t find yourself the mental capacity to work on your large-scale project? Do you find yourself caught in the fear-dreaded loop of “if I don’t do X… then my idea will not work”?

Creating a conditional basis for your venture shuts you off from the doing, producing, and the magic of creating. It blocks innovation and change. It casts doubt on your idea and prohibits you from pouring your resources into it due to an underlying fear. Fears are powerful inhibitors and are paralyzing. They are crippling and often mentally debilitating. What comes upon fear is typically a model of scarcity. We cannot assume scarcity if we are to generate from our ideas and become productive leaders.

You must transcend above the “if-then” fear consciousness to a place of acceptance and courage. If you stay firm to your vision and do not give up even against the insurmountable odds, then you are no longer caught in the “if-then” trap. You will be living life with purpose and passion, more spontaneously and free of the mental chains that obstructed you from entrepreneurship in the first place.

Remember the time you said, “Man I wish that…”, or “Hey, I have a great idea”? It was those moments that you conceived the seed to an unrestrained idea not cast by the doubts of “if-then”. We must program our habit formations as entrepreneurs in order to strengthen our most potent tool – our minds, to cement actions that we feel called to take. “If-then” statements create resistance and excuse ourselves from taking the right action.

Consider your entrepreneurial mission statement and vision to be beyond the confines of the conditional and rise towards an unconditionally doing paradigm. Often, it’s the thinking about doing something that keeps us from actually doing it. The lesson: don’t overthink it.

XiXi Qian
XiXi Qian
XiXi Qian is a creative entrepreneur of hybrid identities as a Chinese-Australian living in the US. XiXi built and managed a multi-million dollar healthcare center in the Last Frontier of AK, is also an accomplished classical pianist having played at Carnegie Hall, author of the entrepreneurial blueprint "Soul vs Soullessness", and holds a Masters of Consciousness & Transformative Studies.

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