The nature versus nurture debate has raged hot and heavy for decades, if not centuries. Leadership has often been the main topic of contention with some believing deeply in the idea of natural born leaders with others considering it to be a matter of training and circumstance. The latest trait to become part of the debate is entrepreneurship.
While it’s unclear whether Millennial parents believe entrepreneurs are born or whether it’s simply important for everyone to build some entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneur camps are becoming the “next big thing” for kids. Which means parents at least seem to feel entrepreneurial skills are essential, even if they don’t lead to their child becoming a successful entrepreneur. After all, not all parents that sent their kids to basketball camp expected their kids to play in the NBA.
In some ways, the nature versus nurture debate is somewhat of a moot point. The truth is that no matter what types of skills, traits or attributes you are born with, it’s what you do with them that matters. While Michael Jordan may have had some natural talent or ability that gave him a passion for basketball, even Michael Jordan would not have the astounding success he had without thousands of hours of practice and an almost cult-like devotion to improvement.
Malcolm Gladwell was the first to introduce the idea that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve greatness at anything. Even Gladwell, however, doesn’t discount the idea that just practice alone will not automatically make you great at anything, instead of that talent alone will not make you great. The truth is, 10,000 hours of practice might hone the skills of a gifted musician into a Yo-Yo Ma or a Luciano Pavarotti, but it might not do anything for a person with little to no innate ability.
So, the truth is, there is no answer to the question of whether or not entrepreneurship is an innate talent. You are born with it, or you aren’t. Of course, an argument could be made that even without natural talent and ability, spending ten years or more learning to master a particular skill you weren’t born with will get you far further than not spending any time developing a talent you were born with.