Born or Made

A Facebook friend and former student of mine asked me to opine on whether entrepreneurs are born or made. I'm not sure I have much blazing insight here: I'd have to say "a little bit of both." Everyone should learn a little entrepreneurship, whether you define that as "learning how to start and run a business," "knowing how to create something out of nothing," or "being a revenue and/or idea generator, regardless of whether you work for yourself or someone else." And yet, some are born more ready, by temperament, skill, and intellect, for the unique challenges of entrepreneurship. Probably no argument there. Maybe slightly contestable is whether someone supremely gifted for entrepreneurship can yet fail if not properly trained (I say yes), or whether the world's best training can make up for raw material that isn't cut out for entrepreneurship (I say no).

Perhaps more interesting to ponder is the importance of giving people lots of opportunity to connect what they're made for with the support and instruction needed to take that innate advantage and do something great with it. Hence, the importance of everything from open-minded parents to good schools to a business environment that quickly learns from failure and redeploys the assets from failed ventures towards new directions; for these are the things that ensure that more of us get more out of our lives, whether in business or competitive athletics or the ministry. After all, ideally, why ask "born or made" when you can help make sure that, for as many people as possible, it's "born and made."

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