5 Big Business Lessons My Little Brother Taught Me
Meet my 7 year old brother, Justin. He’s accomplished quite a bit in his young career. He reads at the 3rd grade level (only in 1st grade), is the reigning student of the year, and managed to beat Halo 3 all by himself.
Since I live with him, I naturally hear him ramble about random stuff and observe his activities from time to time. Surprisingly, he’s taught me some really BIG lessons about business that I want to share with you.
Even though he’s only 7 years old, he still has his own goals and achievements. Here are 5 big business lessons I’ve learned from Justin:
1. Don’t Ever Take No For An Answer
When my brother was younger, he would ask for things and my parents would say ‘No’. He would ask each of us, then cry, and finally throw a tantrum. He quickly realized that no matter how bad he wanted it, he wasn’t going to get it.
Suddenly one day, I saw a change in his demeanor. He asked for cookies and my mom said ‘No’. Typically, he would come and ask me if I would give him cookies, but this time he did something very different.
Instead of asking me, he began climbing the dishwasher. From there, he climbed the kitchen counter and slowly balanced all the way to the cupboards. He got on his tippy toes and reached to the top shelf until he got the cookies.
There were a lot of things that could have happened in that sequence, but he didn’t let anything stop him. He wanted cookies and that’s all he would settle for.
Lesson: Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for funding or an employee trying to get a raise, don’t take NO for an answer. If you don’t get funding from someone, go find it from some other source. If you don’t get that big promotion at one company, find another company who values you.
2. Have An Annoying Thirst For Knowledge
Little kids are great until they learn to talk. When Justin learned to talk, he drove me insane. It wasn’t that he was trying to be annoying, but he would ask questions about everything.
I was often busy or had other things to do, so I would brush him off. However, the times when I did give him an answer, he never forgot what I told him. He understood that I didn’t answer very many of his questions so he MADE sure to remember the answers I did give him.
He sucked up information like a sponge and he continued to want more. He’s a huge basketball fan, but he knew nothing about the game, players, teams, or sport. Fast-forward 8 months and he can tell you how many points Kobe Bryant has had in career as of yesterday.
How did he learn all this information? It wasn’t me handing him out facts, because I don’t even know as much as he does. He spent time reading ESPN box scores, watching YouTube videos, and looking at pictures. He was hungry to learn!
Lesson: No matter how old or young you may be, you need to find your passions and be hungry to learn all about it. Whether it’s getting 5 minutes with your mentor or a chance to listen to a keynote, suck up as much knowledge as you can.
3. Keep Trying Until You Succeed
Growing up, I was a video game nerd. I dominated all the sports and action games. Recently, my brother has become the video game nerd I once used to be. For some reason, he thinks he can beat me at NBA 2k13.
He knocks on my door everyday begging to play me. I’ve probably played him over 100 times in the last 1 year and beaten him every single time. What amazes me is that he never gives up.
In fact, he tells me that he will continue playing against me until HE BEATS ME. While I laugh it off because it’s really not going to happen, I do admire his persistence. Most people would try 5-10 times before giving up.
The thing that’s even better is that he changes his formula each time. He’ll pick a new team, get a new player, or even try a new approach to beat me. He understands that he can’t beat me playing the same way, so he continues improving himself.
Lesson: In business, failure is far more prominent than success. Failure is an event and nothing more. It doesn’t define your company or you. If you fail, come back with a new plan and be better than the last time.
4. Don’t Lose Your Imagination
My brother is the most imaginative person in the world. He comes up with insane stories and has a very open mind. Many people I meet in the business world have put their creative intuition aside.
Justin is passionate, creative, and uses his imagination. Whether it’s a story for a project or just something to do out of boredom, his imagination is unbelievable. Staying imaginative can never harm you!
Lesson: Never let your creative drive be put to rest. Creativity is something that is a crucial aspect of every business and often times imagination is what sets a company apart from the others.
5. People Want To Be Led, Not Controlled
When my parents ‘force’ my brother to do something, he gets upset and resists. You tell him to brush his teeth or to take a shower, he runs away and tries to delay it as much as possible.
However, if you tell him to brush his teeth with you, he’s far more open to it. He loves being led and even joining in with you, but he doesn’t like to be forced into doing things alone. Naturally, this is how everyone feels!
Lesson: The biggest part of a business is the way you manage other people. Nobody wants to be the employee that takes orders constantly. People love to work together with bosses and colleagues to reach a common goal. It’s not always the action that needs to change, but rather the perspective.
As you can see, my 7 year old brother has taught me a lot. I didn’t realize this until very recently when I put the pieces together. Do you have a younger sibling or child that has taught you some business lessons?