It’s easy to identify aggressive personalities. The neighborhood bully, the driver who yells at everyone at the road, the boxer who doesn’t just want to win but wants to destroy; even the loudmouth in the restaurant who can’t whisper without everyone in the place hearing. A person with an aggressive personality likes to dominate a situation or other people through either force or intimidation.

But is having an aggressive personality the same as having an aggressive mind? It has been my experience and observation that the answer is, “no.”

I have met people with both an aggressive personality and mind. I have met people with an aggressive personality in some respects and an aggressive mind in some respects. But I have generally found that people, if they are aggressive in one way (since most people are not aggressive either way), tend to rely on that way to express themselves.

Who has an aggressive mind? The person who starts with what is … and goes beyond; like the entrepreneur who sees the marketplace and says, “What if...?” Or, the doctor who creates the cure for a disease from nothing. The inventor who makes a machine do something to make life a little easier. And the writer who creates a futuristic world and has total control over absolutely every element in that world, from modes of transportation to what forms of life exist.

Sometimes, the most difficult part of fully utilizing our minds is freeing ourselves of the constraints built in by our experience and environment. For example, it’s hard to imagine a world with the same gravity as the moon because it is something we take as a given. Life would be different in many ways. Yet, that’s what people with aggressive minds deal with. While these people are, for the most part, not perceived as “aggressive”, we would often be surprised by who is and is not an aggressive thinker.

The goal in identifying aggressive thinkers is to encourage us -- as entrepreneurs, owners, managers and investors -- to differentiate between people who are simply aggressive without bringing anything new to the table and those who may be less inclined to grab you by the shirt but can bring the future to our doorsteps. Unfortunately, in a business context these people may also be shy and unlikely to undertake the burdens and risks of starting a new business.

It is up to us to not be overwhelmed by aggressive personalities and to be receptive to aggressive minds. The latter may be harder to identify, but once identified they can be tremendously valuable in business and society, in general.

Author's Bio: 

As well as being an attorney and accountant, Jeff Stoller is an expert in brand management and one of the most experienced executives in the hospitality/entertainment fields, having been an owner, operator, executive and consultant with more than 20 years in product and brand licensing. In 2005, Stoller was presented the “Innovator of the Year” award based on his taking a good but under-productive brand and making it the premier brand in the industry.

For the past 10 years, Stoller has directed brand management in the hospitality and entertainment field for one of the best known brands in the world. Prior to that, Stoller’s consulting firm helped dozens of companies through startup and growth stages, as well as in the development of specific products or services. His company also created, manufactured and marketed products for world famous brands including The Rolling Stones, Warner Bros, and Playboy.

Stoller has the distinction of being the only person to earn 3 graduate degrees simultaneously at the University of Southern California including Juris Doctorate (Order of the Coif), Master of Business Taxation and Master of Business Administration (Beta Alpha Psi) degrees at the age of 24. After being recruited from the tax department of KPMG Peat, a top 4 international accounting firm, Stoller served as an Adjunct Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Southern California where he taught finance in the Graduate School of Business and law in the Undergraduate School of Business, and was selected as one of the 20 top professors.

Stoller has been a speaker on such panels as the South Florida Film and Television Industry Roundtable, the Business Finance Conference sponsored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Stoller has been a lecturer at trade conventions and conferences on such topics as the keys to successful brand licensing experiential licensing (licensing an experience, rather than just a product or name).

Stoller has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including The Daily Business Review, Inventors’ Digest, A Roadmap to Financing Your Business and Total Brand Licensing.

Stoller is currently a member of the California Bar Association and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.