Break All the Rules

If you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and buying a business op­portunity, franchise or other small business is something that interests you…and if you also happen to be male, taking a look back at who you were as a teenager may be a predictor of your success.

That’s according to the latest in a number of recent and ongoing studies that have established the relationship between successful entrepre­neurship and certain adoles­cent behavior traits in young men, the ones that your par­ents may have found less than adorable.

Published in the most current Journal of Vocational Behav­ior, the study confirms what many of us already know about entrepreneur types, especially extraordinarily successful men. Think Bill Gates, Richard Bran­son and Jay Z, all of who had brushes with the law at one time or another.

Successful entrepreneurs do tend to think outside of the box, and rule-following is not their strong suit, all of which is precisely why they are so good at what they do.

After all, the fact that they don’t adhere to the social norm is largely what fuels their abil­ity to push boundaries in busi­ness where others wouldn’t dare, so it stands to reason that that general way of thinking starts young. “We think it could be the early entrepreneurial spirit,” said the study’s lead au­thor, Dr. Martin Obschonka, one of the authors of the study.

His research suggests mild acts of rebellion in the adoles­cent years could be a precursor to that useful skill.

“The data suggests that re­bellious adolescent behaviour against socially accepted standards and an early ques­tioning of boundaries doesn’t necessarily lead to criminal and anti-social careers.”

Keep in mind we’re not talking severe crime here. Rather, the study found a fairly strong pos­itive correlation between the level of success men have as entrepreneurs and the likeli­hood that they once engaged in relatively minor acts of teen­age rebellion, such as truancy, ignoring their parents’ rules, cheating and shoplifting.

So while determination, pas­sion and resiliency are surely on anyone’s short list of what it takes to make it as a business owner today—and a hugely successful one at that, perhaps it’s time to add troublemaker to that profile. Parents of rebel­lious teenage boys, take heart. That behavior that’s driving you nuts today may translate into millions tomorrow.

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