Nature or Nurture? What it takes to be an entrepreneur

Nature or Nurture?

Nature or Nurture? What it takes to be an entrepreneur


Nature or Nurture? What it takes to be an entrepreneur


by Dr. R. Kay Green

Are entrepreneurs born, or made? Ask twenty professionals, and you are highly likely to get twenty different answers.

Some believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur, if you just take the right classes and learn the right skills. Others believe that the ability to be a entrepreneur is something innate, and if you do not have that, you are better off not even trying. And still others believe that a lot of the traits of a good entrepreneur are something that you are born with, but that does not mean that you are going to succeed right away, and you should always be trying to grow and learn skills.

There is something to be said for learning. I would like to argue that there are a lot of things that can be learned that people assume are innate. You can learn how to be comfortable talking in front of a crowd even if that is something that you are generally afraid of. You can learn how to network even if you are not naturally extroverted. You can learn to be organized even if you are more cluttered by nature.

However, some things simply cannot be learned. And the biggest thing that marks the difference between a successful entrepreneur and an unsuccessful one is motivation.

This is not to say that you cannot become a more motivated person, if you find yourself procrastinating and putting things now. But ask yourself this: why do you want to become more motivated? You cannot do it because your boss thinks that you should, or your friends, or your family. Instead, motivation begins with you, because you want to grow, change, and succeed.

And it is not something you can learn in a class. While you can learn tactics to decrease procrastination and learn how to manage time more effectively, at the end of the day those lessons will not do you much good if you do not have the motivation to put them into practice.

Phrasing it like that makes it sound easy, but anyone who has gone down that path knows that it is anything but. Growing a business and becoming a better professional is difficult, and requires sacrifice. You might not have as much time to watch TV, or you might have to turn down last-minute invitations from friends. You are responsible for your own schedule, and for setting your own goals.

This is simply not possible for people who do not want to do it. If you do not have the drive to succeed, you will find excuses to put it off.

But if you are driven and motivated, anything is possible. You can become the best version of yourself through hard work and careful planning. You can maximize your strengths, and keep your weaknesses from taking over and becoming a problem.

Every entrepreneur is different. Some are more people-oriented, while some are results-oriented. Some are introverts, and some are extroverts. Some thrive when they are the center of attention, in front of a large crowd, and others work better behind the scenes. And some are a mix of these traits, or somewhere in the middle of these traits.

But all of them have the drive and the passion to succeed. And that is something that cannot be taught.




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2 Replies to “Nature or Nurture?”

  1. Lynn Churchill@Emerge Triumphant

    Great observations! I agree that many things can be learned without having an innate talent for them. Networking was a big one for me, but first I had to get past the fear. And before I could even network, I had to get past the fear of putting myself out there, first with my blog and then freelance writing.

    So I think fear is a huge obstacle for many people who might otherwise become entrepreneurs. I used to think the last thing in the world I wanted to be was an entrepreneur; now I know that that was just the fear talking.

    But I also know the truth of your observation, that the drive and passion to succeed cannot be taught.

    We have to have our “why”.

    1. Kay Green[ Post Author ]

      Thank you for your comment, Lynn. You make a strong point that fear is often an obstacle that holds people back. That is something that certainly needs to be addressed — which is easier to do when you have your “why” keeping you motivated.

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