People with a victim mentality should never be entrepreneurs. We all know the role of starting and running a business is unpredictable, and has a high risk of failure. For people with a victim mentality, this fear of failure alone will almost certainly make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I’m sure you all know someone who is the perennial victim. The problem is that most of these people aren’t likely to accept your assessment, so it’s hard to help them. They don’t see themselves as others see them, and many simply refuse to accept the reality of the world in general.
According to a classic article by Karl Perera, called “Victim Mentality – You Don't Have to Suffer!” there are many indications of a victim mentality in a person’s thought process. Here are some key ones he mentioned, applied to the entrepreneurial environment:
“When things don’t work, I secretly believe I’m the cause.” Victims act as though each business setback is a catastrophe and create stress for themselves. These people feel more importance and ego when relating problems rather than successes.
A survivor believes that bad things are an anomaly to be brushed off, or just another challenge to overcome. In fact, they look forward to the challenges, and get their most satisfaction from declaring success.
“When I talk to myself, I never have a positive discussion.” Second-guessing every decision affects mood, behavior, and happiness, and is likely to cause or intensify a victim mentality. If you are negative, you cannot see reality, leading to more bad decisions, confirming you are indeed a victim.
Survivors continually relive their positives, and see themselves as miracle workers. They live in the present or the future, and rarely dwell on mistakes of the past. They have faith in themselves, and life as a whole.
“When others put me down, I‘m wounded to the soul.” Negative comments from others are devastating to a victim. Offensive behavior towards you actually says more about the other person. But if you have a negative mentality you will just take what they say or do at face value, and believe that you deserve to be the victim.
The survivor always stands up and fights negative comments, and usually turns the blame back on the deliverer. He is quick to counter with all his positives. He builds boundaries around negative or toxic people, and avoids them at all costs.
“I believe in fate, even though it’s unfair.” If you succumb to fate, then you think you are responsible for all the bad things that happen to your business. The victim feels that he or she has been treated unfairly but is trapped. There seems to be no way out.
Survivors believe that they can make things happen, rather than let things happen to them. They accept random turns in their life as new opportunities, rather than unfair punishment.
“Everyone is punished for a reason.” Religious beliefs can have a positive or negative affect on your life. If you believe in a Supreme Being who is responsible for everything, it’s easy to believe that your pain and misery is punishment for something you did wrong.
Survivors obviously take it the other way. They enjoy a personal relationship with the Supreme Being of their understanding, and feel a gratitude for everything positive in their life. They may ask their Supreme Being for help, but rely on themselves for results.
This victim mentality is not a good thing under any circumstances, but it’s particularly lethal when applied to an entrepreneur. If you would like to be an entrepreneur, remember that you don't have to be a victim. Take a hard look in the mirror. Truly the only one who makes you feel like one is the same person who can make you a survivor – you!
Martin Zwilling is the Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides services to startup founders around the world. See more details at www.startupprofessionals.com