10 Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Ask And Answer Ep 578

A photo of a female entrepreneur eating at her. But what makes entrepreneurs successful? In today’s lesson, we learn about characteristics of successful people – the things they do and can do.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2606 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 14 min

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Conversations In English - Advice From A World Leading Entrepreneur

The biggest mistake you can make in business is to not learn from the success of others. So when the world’s most successful entrepreneur gives away some reasons behind their success, listen. In today’s English comprehension listening exercise we look into the mind of a brilliant, successful entrepreneur. There is some great English vocabulary and some excellent advice for people who want to create a business.

In today’s English language lesson, we talk about what makes people successful in business. We explore the mind behind that success, what makes them tick. Along the way, we cover some interesting English vocabulary and phrases.

If you want to start your own business, it pays to learn from others’ success and mistakes. They say plagiarism is flattery, and when the person you're trying to copy gives away the information, there is no harm in listening.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
⭐ Peter Drucker

You might say it’s rubbish, but my guess is someone this successful probably has something interesting to say. The more successful businesses you can analyze, the better your chances are of determining what they did right and how you can apply it in your own business.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Plagiarism: When you copy someone else's work and say it's yours.
  • Flattery: When you give someone compliments, usually to make them like you.
  • Inertia: When you don't want to change or move.
  • Dogma: Beliefs that people accept without questioning.
  • Adventure: An exciting trip or experience.
  • Passion: Something you love very much and are very interested in.
  • Criticism: When someone tells you what they think is wrong with what you did.
  • Wilting: What a plant does when it doesn't have enough water, or a person feeling weak or losing enthusiasm.

Most common 2 word phrases:

Ask Yourself3
Successful Entrepreneur3
See How2
Listen To2
Go Through2
An Interest2

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: 10 Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Ask And Answer

Hi there. Have you ever wondered what makes a successful entrepreneur? An 'entrepreneur' is a very successful business person. Today I'm going to go through 10 questions that are recommended to ask yourself by one particular successful entrepreneur. You'll have heard of this person and I'll tell you who it is at the end. But let's have a look at the questions this person recommends you ask of yourself.

Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
⭐ Confucius

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Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

10 questions from a famous entrepreneur

Okay, so there are 10 questions which this famous entrepreneur recommends that you ask yourself regularly, to challenge yourself, to make sure that you're on track.

Clearly, these questions have shaped this person's life. What are they? So here are the 10 questions which this successful entrepreneur recommends you ask yourself regularly. I'll read them through first. There are some quite difficult words in there, things you may not know, so I'll go again through them afterwards and explain all the difficult vocabulary so that you can understand.

See how you do with these. See how much you can understand straight off, but I will go through it.

  1. Will inertia be your guide or will you follow your passions?
  2. Will you follow dogma or will you be original?
  3. Will you choose a life of ease or a life of service and adventure?
  4. Will you wilt under criticism or will you follow your convictions?
  5. Will you bluff it out when you're wrong or will you apologize?
  6. Will you guard your heart against rejection or will you act when you fall in love?
  7. Will you play it safe or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

That's a good word!

  1. When it's tough, will you give up or will you be relentless?
  2. Will you be a cynic or will you be a builder? And...
  3. Will you be clever at the expense of others or will you be kind?

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Explanation of the 10 questions to ask yourself - with vocabulary!

OK, so...

Inertia or passion?

  1. Will inertia be your guide or will you follow your passions?

Inertia, I N E R T I A. It means 'not doing very much'. If you're 'guided by inertia', it may mean that you spend a lot of time sitting on the sofa, not really doing much, not really very active. Or will you follow your passions? ' A 'passion', P A S S I O N is an interest. But more than an interest. Something that you feel strongly about, that you really enjoy, that gives you a lot of pleasure or that you believe in. So this person is saying, 'Do you choose inertia or passion to be your guide?'

Dogma or originality?

  1. Will you follow dogma or will you be original?

Dogma, D O G M A means 'things that people believe without question'. Fixed ideas that are laid down usually with authority behind them. So 'will you follow dogma or will you be original?' Original, O R I G I N A L is an adjective. And in this context, it means 'something that you've thought of yourself, something that is a new idea that maybe no one else has thought of'. That's 'original'.

Ease or service or adventure?

  1. Will you choose a life of ease or a life of service and adventure?

So again, another challenge. 'Choosing a life of ease' means, again, probably not doing very much or doing the things that are easy, rather than challenging yourself, rather than 'living a life of service'. So that's S E R V I C E. In this context, it means 'giving to other people, helping other people, working towards a cause that you believe in'. Or 'a life of adventure', A D V E N T U R E. 'Adventure' means activities that are exciting, challenging, they have a bit of risk and they're new to you, but which could turn out to be really great. That's 'adventure'.


A photograph a successful female entrepreneur. What are the secrets behind the success of entrepreneurs? Today while we improve our English fluency we also learn what makes entrepreneurs successful.

©️ Adept English 2022

Wilting or conviction?

  1. Will you wilt under criticism or will you follow your convictions?

So vocabulary here - a 'criticism', that's C R I T I C I S M. That's a negative thing that somebody says about you. So in life sometimes we hear criticisms about ourselves. We're being judged negatively.

Will you wilt under criticism? So 'wilt', W I L T, is a verb. 'To wilt' that's what plants do if they haven't got any water. They sort of flop. A lot of 'wilting' happened this summer when it was very hot in the UK and other places. So are you going to 'wilt under criticism' or are you going to 'follow your convictions'? If something is a 'conviction', it's a firm belief, something that you stand by.

So clearly this person is asking questions of themselves. There's a good answer and there's a less good answer. That becomes clear as you go on.

Bluff it out or apologize?

  1. Will you bluff it out when you're wrong or will you apologize? So if you're wrong, 'to bluff it out', that means 'to lie', 'to try and cover up your mistake', 'to try and make it look as though everything's fine'.

Or will you apologize? That means you own your mistake and you say sorry. What this person's saying here then is 'Fess up'. Own it when you've made a mistake. Don't spend time trying to convince people that you're not wrong.

Guard your heart or act?

  1. Will you guard your heart against rejection or will you act when you fall in love?

Oh my goodness, that's a big one, isn't it? Could say a lot about that. So 'to guard your heart against rejection', that means 'to not go along with your feelings when you fall in love', 'to stay out of relationship', perhaps. 'To not take any risks' with the person. You might be frightened of 'rejection' - that's 'them not accepting you'.

Or do you act when you fall in love? So maybe you tell the person.

Play it safe or be 'swashbuckling'?

  1. Will you play it safe or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

So first of all, 'to play it safe', S A F E means not take any risks. Or will you be 'a little bit swashbuckling'? Well, that's a good old English word, isn't it? S W A S H B U C K L I N G.

That's a good one to learn. 'Swashbuckling'. So it's an adjective, and it means 'bold and daring and flamboyant'. So probably rather attractive in your daring. Before the case with Amber Heard, I'm sure that most people would think of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp, in other words, as being 'swashbuckling'. So we're being encouraged here to be 'a little bit swashbuckling'.

Listening Lessons

Give up or be relentless?

  1. When it's tough, will you give up or will you be relentless? This really sounds like a business person, doesn't it? 'When it's tough', T O U G H, that means it's difficult. Will you give up? That means will you stop? Will you give in? Will you concede or will you be 'relentless'? That's R E L E N T L E S S, and it's an adjective.

So 'relentless' means 'you don't stop'. He's using 'relentless' in a slightly different way here, using it to mean a positive. Often when you hear the word, the adjective 'relentless', it means something bad. It means something that you want to stop. For example, 'the rain was relentless last night', or 'the wind was relentless last night'. It didn't stop.

Cynic or builder?

  1. Will you be a cynic or will you be a builder?

So here the negative option is 'cynic', C Y N I C. So this is a noun and a 'cynic' is a person who holds 'cynical beliefs'. So 'cynical', C Y N I C A L is the adjective. If you're a 'cynic', it means that you're a person who thinks everybody is 'motivated by self interest'. Or a cynic is a person whose viewpoint is always negative and probably quite scornful of other people. They condemn other people, they look down on them. Whereas 'Will you be a builder?' That's B U I L D E R, from the verb 'to build'? In this context, it means will you be one of the people who actually works to make things better rather than just complaining about it? Who makes a contribution? Will you make positive change happen? The more usual way in which we use this word, if someone's a 'builder', it probably means they build houses or walls, but yeah, 'Will you be a builder?' And the last one?

Clever at the expense of others or kind?

  1. Will you be clever at the expense of others or will you be kind?

So 'clever', C L E V E R is another adjective. You probably know this one. It means you show intelligence and skill. You've got a good brain, if you're 'clever'. And you're quick to apply things, you're quick to work at it. But 'clever at the expense of others' means, 'Will you be the type of person who enjoys making other people look small, look less than your cleverness?'.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

The good alternative, 'Or will you be kind?' That's K I N D. I think kindness - there's the noun - is underrated. We don't put enough store by kindness. If everybody in the world was a bit kinder, it would be a much nicer place. And kindness is free, and kindness is what people remember you for. So 'Will you be clever that the expense of others, or will you be kind?'

Which famous entrepreneur do these questions come from?

I think these are really good questions to ask yourself and check your choices as you go along. Who is it that's come up with these questions to challenge yourself with? Well, and I make no claim to favour this person, but he's certainly been successful. Nobody can argue with that. It's Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon.

He's the second most wealthy person in the world, and he's known as a very successful entrepreneur. You might like him, you might not like him, but I think his 10 questions are worth listening to.


Use this podcast to practise your English understanding. It contains some really good vocabulary and it's great English listening practice.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




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