Visionary. Trend-bucking. Revolutionary. Innovative. Disruptive. You’ve likely heard these swanky adjuncts thrown around in corporate gatherings, or even amidst social mixers featuring some of the most successful enterpreneurs.
You’d be forgiven to think of these terms as some recent incarnation of corporate-speak, or empty sound bites used to adulate ‘addressees’, and pile on their grandstanding. Surely, there’s something uniquely common to these superlatives. It speaks to a unique DNA that is peculiar to every epic entrepreneur that has walked the surface of the earth.
This post’ll look to make light work of unpacking that je ne sais quoi that surrounds how we see great disruptors—through the lens of the rogue-ish, disobedient kid who woke up and dared to be different.
“What Rulebook?”: A Journey Into The Heart Of Impactful Entrepreneurship
In the heydays of entrepreneurship, disruptive innovation was (and is, to date) king. Big, bold ideas were rolled out in small, iterative improvements that sprouted from some sort of alternative thinking—a bold, devil-may-care streak that dictated how they could go against the grain of conventional wisdom to invent and iterate. With courage to burn.
. . . The established order/status quo be damned.
This is the self-abundant mindset behind a whole new era that ushered in vast technological advancements and the most impactful businesses, and we’re just getting started as a human race. Because really, let’s face it. A few thousands, probably millions of people are in need of your contribution to the world as a business owner.
There’re no shortages of problems.
Taking a cue from astronomy, the solar system tells us that the sun is in the center and all of these planets revolve around the sun. Well, it hasn’t always been this way. Galileo, the man who discovered this model, was tried for ‘heresy’ by the established order of the time. A cease-and-desist order followed. Yet, he went on lay the building blocks for the multi-trillion space exploration industry as we know it today.
It’s a fine line. Yeap. But we mustn’t ignore the all-too-familiar pattern—that the most epic enterpreneurs are not afraid to call BS on conventional wisdom in pursuit of purpose.
. . . They simply chose to re-invent the value chain, exercising their right to being human first, subject second. These traits bear remarkable similarities with those found in disobedient kids, following strikingly recognizable patterns:
— Boundary Pushers
These kids stretch us, sometimes, beyond our elastic limit in terms of permissible behavior. Granted. Few things irk a parent/guardian more utterly than kids tossing out boundaries set for them. (Take heart. It happens to the most patient of us parents!) And these bursts of juvenile rebellion’re likely to leave you at your wit’s end every so often. So, it’s usually met with raging reactions, or spanking (if you’re into that sort of thing.) Absolute pain in the bum!
. . . Beneath that veneer of gutsiness is a piece of the jigsaw that the modern entrepreneur needs to strike gold.
Modern history is rife with businesses that pushed boundaries in their respective sectors. Uber today is a multi-billion-dollar firm that started by trying to disrupt the mobility sector. They’ve had a couple of run-ins with the law in their quest for expansion, but yeahh, they’ve remained largely relevant across borders.
Much to public reprobation (and pushback), even Facebook’s also had to push—to almost ridiculous extremes—boundaries on human data privacy in a way to provide more value in targeted ads.
Again. There’s a noteworthy pattern of that ‘potentially lawbreaking’ operational swagger with which the most successful entrepreneurs go about their business.
— Unorthodox. Outside-the-box Thinkers.
Imagine a world where everybody conformed to established socially accepted rules and knowledge. That’ll be largely uninspiring and stifling for growth which you cannot isolate from the ability and creative freedom to chart paths anew.
Personally, we have found this truth to be unmistakably self-evident—that we need some sort of disobedience—balls, if you will, to challenge long-held conventions to see if they still hold up in contemporary surroundings, and if they’ve outlived their purpose, then design and create new models.
Success may be immediately guaranteed. But hey! What will the ‘herd thinking’ bring you? Nothing. If you don’t buy the tickets, you may as well write off your chances of winning the raffle. 🙂
— A Heightened Sense of Self
The best entrepreneurs couldn’t care less about weaving their thought processes and actions into the tapestry of society’s behavioral expectations. They have their one-of-a-kind blueprint, after all. We can accurately ascribe that to a peak sense of self.
These disobedient kids are no slouch when it comes to holding their own, standing up for themselves, and are less likely to kowtow to the pull of peer pressure. Erika Myers, a licensed professional counselor in Bend, Oregon, inked this profoundly when she said:
“Having a well-developed sense of self is hugely beneficial in helping us make choices in life. From something as small as favorite foods to larger concerns like personal values, knowing what comes from our own self versus what comes from others allows us to live authentically.”
Driven by a strong sense of self, successful enterpreneurs couldn’t give a flying flamengo about what society thinks. This imbues them with tunnel vision on their goals.
The data supports it!
It won’t bother on wisdom to set aside the credibility of gazillion years of science to get—if not a 100% accurate conclusion—the closest possible assessment given the variables.
Several studies have been conducted on this subject matter to explore the possibility of a straight-line correlation between disobedience in childhood and success in entrepreneurship. One study showed that people who were disobedient as children were observed to have higher earning power in adulthood, and were also most likely to become entrepreneurs.
Scientific-speak dubs this a certain character trait of ‘agreeableness’ being low in disobedient children. To put into context, these guys simply want more out of life than they get when they wallow in the averageness of that ‘available-becomes-preferable’ mindset.
Another study published in Developmental Psychology Journal in 2015, studied the career paths of 745 people over 40 years, concluded that people who were defiant and rule-breakers as kids, and then took these traits into adulthood were more likely to succeed as entrepreneurs.
. . . To cap it off
This post is not a call to civil rebellion. Think of it as a kick up the backside to wake up from your conformist slumber. To chart your own territory BOLDY, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, and selflessly, allowing for the possibility that staying true to your authentic self is sufficient for you, your customers, and your community.
This post is a call to self-awareness for you, to get the resources you need, sharpen your entrepreneurial skills, and tee yourself up for that inward transformation you need to channel your ‘disobedience’ for good.
It doesn’t matter if you were a ‘disobedient child’ or not. You sure can’t go back in time to break the rules you didn’t. What you can do now as an adult is to find ways to apply these traits in your career or business life, to increase your chance of success.
“Man has continued to evolve by acts of disobedience… his intellectual development was dependent on the capacity for being disobedient, disobedient to authorities who tried to muzzle new thoughts and to the authority of long-established opinions which declared a change to be nonsense.”
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