by David Adewumi


Shall I start this post with a quote?

“The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” Albert E.N. Gray, exceprt from a major address at the 1940 NALU (National Association of Life Underwriters) annual convention in Philadelphia.

There’s been some debate throughout history, with whether a certain trait or characteristic is innate, or whether its developed. A scientist may call it a discourse on Nature vs. Nature.

With the advent of entrepreneurship — the term at least, the practice of it has been around since the origins of humanity of course — that discourse has extended to it.

Is an entrepreneur born or is he or she developed?

A friend sent me an email today saying “I am becoming convinced that entrepreneurs are born and cannot be made. Not good if you teach entrepreneurship.”

A very interesting argument to be sure, based on this person’s experiences with start-ups, but I’m not sure I wholly agree.

I think, it’s a combined force of nature and nature.

Some have it in them sure, some entrepreneurial characteristics. I’d say a bit of a rebellious nature is probably necessary. Also some confidence (this helps to whither the tough times), resilience, and a general vision and the will to gut it out.

But is the “habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do” innate, or can it be developed?

If only I had an audience to pitch this to, we could have some valuable discourse, unfortunately I’m not a beggar and I won’t be riding any wishes :).

A habit, of course, can be formed, and I believe the same is true with entrepreneurship. It is more a habit and a way of thinking than it is an actual characteristic that one is born with.

Some are most likely born with a greater propensity to develop this habit (just the way some are born with a high propensity to be alcoholics), but I wouldn’t bet that entrepreneurs cannot be developed.

At the heart of this question is whether or not a man can change his destiny. If he can’t, then he is destined to be and to do the path laid out before him. (i.e. he can’t be an entrepreneur)

And if we can change our destiny … ?