Attention Entrepreneurs: Is Career Success Genetic?

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Maybe, says a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University. The study of genetics has revolutionized the medial field finding genetic markers that makes us more or less susceptible to certain diseases and ailments but could an entrepreneurship gene really exist?

Look at history. The Waltons and Vanderbilts had brilliant business minds spanning multiple generations in the family. For a modern day example, the Trumps. Of course it could be argued that when the previous generation achieves success, the contacts and money made make it easier for the next generation to continue the success but scientists believe they may have found a genetic link.

While there is no “start-up gene” that will genetically predispose somebody to starting a successful business, some of the traits involved are probably passed on at the DNA level. Personality traits like higher than average extroversion, ability to be openly disagreeable, and being open to new experiences are just a few traits that make a successful entrepreneur. There are others but if you have some of these traits, you may find it easier to build a successful business.

This has caused a debate among business schools: If some people are genetically predisposed to certain career fields, should we, in the future, conduct DNA analysis to see if a person should be admitted to an entrepreneurial program at a college or university?

Most say no and the reason is good news for all of those who are in the beginning stages of starting a business. Genetics may aid a person giving them a degree of natural talent, but even those with natural talent have to work hard. On the other hand, those without a high degree of natural talent but have a passion to succeed may succeed where the naturally talented may fail.

If you are starting a business, remember that regardless of what a DNA test would show, your personality gives you a series of positive and negative traits that will both help and hinder you and that is true of those who may be naturally predisposed.

Finally, remember that the “entrepreneurial traits” theory is nothing more than a theory. There is much research still to be done on this topic but even if it does turn out to be true, the passion you have and your ability to work longer and harder than others is sure to give you an edge over your competition.