Origami is a Japanese art of folding paper. ORI means to fold, and GAMI means paper. So, it quite literally means “to fold paper.” It sounds simple when it’s stated so matter-of-factly, but there is actually a ton that you can learn from studying the art that can apply directly to the business world.

  1. Patience During a Struggle

If you know nothing about origami, then you probably think that it means to simply fold the paper into a triangle, smile at your accomplishment, unfold the paper, and write down the finances for your business on the back side of the same sheet of paper. Of course, you’ve got it all wrong. Origami can be intense and take days to complete a single product. Imagine folding a realistic dragon several feet long, complete with hundreds of tiny scales that have been carefully bent into the paper. If you need a more visual idea of origami, here’s a quick look at the type of things that paper can do. The possibilities are limitless. Now, just think about the patience that it would take to create a masterpiece like that. There are so many tiny intricate details that it would be impossible to rush through it and end up with something even half as good as what it could’ve been.

This is lesson #1. In business, you cannot rush something amazing. You have to focus on all of the fine details and comb it through with your fingers. You have to exercise patience above all else. You go through a business meeting, and you rush through the details, you’ll end up with something that’s barely worth anyone’s time. You need to plan and execute your actions and the actions of the company with deliberate patience.

  1. You Can’t Just “Wing It”

You should never walk into work thinking, “I’m going to have to wing this today.” That’s just spelling trouble. Again, we can learn the lesson from origami. Imagine trying to fold an intricate 3D horse sculpture out of a piece of paper. Can you just wing it? Absolutely not. You need to have a plan and a direction. You need to know what the finished product is going to be before you ever pick out the piece of paper that you’ll be folding. As a kid, you’ve probably folded basic origami, and you were probably given directions on what to do. It was all planned out in advance.

Everything you do in the business world should be just like that. It should be planned out and prepared. You never try financing inground pools without have a plan to do it first. Again, the same is with business. If you haven’t already, sit down with the managers and talk about what the plans are for your business. Find out what your ultimate goal is and then make a plan to reach it. By the end of the meeting, you should have deliberate steps that you are planning to take to reach those goals and dates written out for when each goal should be met. You will be so much more successful in business if you have a plan.

  1. Mistakes are Expected

On your first try with making a complicated (or sometimes even a simple) origami piece, you’ll probably make a mistake. You’ll fold the wrong corner, and you’ll have to go back a few steps, correct your error, and start again. Sometimes, you might have to start over completely from scratch. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay and expected. The great thing about mistakes is that they help you to learn. If you don’t make a mistake early on, then chances are you’ll make one when you have more to lose. So, especially towards the beginning of your career, don’t be devastated if you make a bad move or a bad investment. It might hurt for a little bit but in a few years, it will all be forgotten and you’ll be back up on your feet.

The important thing is that you should never give up. You shouldn’t call it quits just because you had a bad fall or because your stock value dropped overnight (as it often does when you’re least expecting it). Instead, brush the dust off your origami page, and start folding again.

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Finn Pierson
Finn Pierson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology. He is drawn to the technological world because of its quickly paced and constantly changing environment. He believes embracing technology is essential to capturing success in any business and strives to inspire and encourage top technological practices in business leaders across the globe. He's a fan of podcasts, bokeh and smooth jazz. His time is mostly spent learning the piano and watching his Golden Retriever Julian chase a stick.