Logo about Anita Roddickabout this site
Act Now!Get the Newsletter!
Picture of me Help screen this important film

DISPATCH: Constructive Lunacy
Posted on November 3, 2001 by Anita

Dysfunction is the essence of entrepreneurship. I've had dozens of requests from places like Harvard and Yale to talk about the subject. It makes me laugh that ivy leaguers are so keen to "learn" how to be entrepreneurs, because I'm not convinced it's a subject you can teach. I mean, how do you teach obsession? Because it is obsession that drives the entrepreneur's commitment to a vision of something new.

There is a fine line between the delinquent mind of an entrepreneur and a crazy person. The entrepreneur's dream is almost a kind of madness, and is almost as isolating. The nature of the entrepreneur's successful idea is that no one else has had it; by definition, your vision usually isn't shared by others.

The difference between the crazy person and the successful entrepreneur is, of course, that the latter can convince others to share the vision. That force of will is fundamental to entrepreneurship. Like a genie in a bottle, the idea is nothing unless someone can exploit it, which is another thing that separates entrepreneurs from everyone else. They act on what they see, think, and feel. And why are they that way?

Blame the dark side of entrepreneurship. If the entrepreneurs I'm familiar with didn't have disadvantaged childhoods, they were at least pushed into adulthood early on. They all share a sense of loss, which only deepens as the companies they created grow up and away from them. That in turn compounds the feeling of isolation.

Is it any harder for a female entrepreneur? Cliché claims that women bosses run a caring, sharing ship. According to the results of a Manchester Business School study, the truth is otherwise. The survey says women at the top are tough cookies, autocrats who rule by fear. But I wonder if that isn't a misreading of the entrepreneurial spirit, regardless of gender. The entrepreneur, whether male or female, is often great at starting something, but not so good at running it.

We entrepreneurs are loners, vagabonds, troublemakers. Success is simply a matter of finding and surrounding ourselves with those open-minded and clever souls who can take our insanity and put it to good use.

Topic : Entrepreneurship
Posted By : Anita
Posted On : November 3, 2001



Associated Topics


No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

2 results found

Re : Constructive Lunacy
By chris on July 16, 2006

In addition to similarities, there are real differences between the entrepreneur and the delinquent.

My research argues that entrepreneurs and delinquents are very similar in that they are curious, want to learn, and are sensation seekers.

What makes them different is that a successful entrepreneur can direct their sensation seeking towards functional ends whereas the delinquent lacks these skills.

The successul entrepreneur therefore is not only a sensation seeker but also is socialized for success by:
- goal setting
- having self-efficacy
- being conscientious
- delaying gratification
- having emotional intelligence
- being a deep learner
- being independent and not relying on luck and chance.

The delinquent lacks these social-cognitive skills as a result of poor socialization (i.e. through poor parenting, bad choice of peers, lack of education, low soci-economics).

As a result, the delinquent (and the dysfunctional entrepreneur!) drift into trouble.

This model of the differences between entrepreneurs and delinquents is based on the Learning Styles Profiler by Associate Professor Chris Jackson in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland.

Re : Constructive Lunacy
By Rachel Bramble on March 27, 2006

but does money always come into it or can you just be obsessive about social justice and not want a penny


Help Support One of Anita's Charities

Login Here

User Name
"Human rights are the dignity, stature, humanity, respect, and freedom belonging to all people by right of their birth." -- Dick Gregory

Home | Topics | My Books | Links | Calendar | Newsletter | About Anita | About this Site