Think you can be anything you want to be? Science says no — unless you want to be an entrepreneur

In most pursuits, deliberate practice accounts for only a small difference in talent. But not where starting a small business is concerned.

My best friend growing up rolled a 160 the first time we went bowling. He had never hit a tennis ball, but on a whim he borrowed a kid’s racket, entered a youth tournament, and won. He went on to be all-state in baseball and basketball, and played minor league ball until a shoulder injury ended his career.

I worked hard to be as good. Way harder than he did; sure, he played, but he never practiced. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I never came anywhere close to his level in any athletic or physical pursuit.

I realized early on that people who said “You can be anything you want to be” didn’t know what they were talking about. I might be able to be a number of things, but I was never going to be Matt.

Turns out science agrees. According to 2016 research published in Association for Psychological Science, in sports, practice accounts for less than 20 percent of the performance difference between amateurs — and only 1 percent of the performance difference between professionals.

The same is true for music. After the (somewhat mythical) threshold of 10,000 hours of practice, a paper published in Royal Society of Open Science found that “average” violin players generally tend to still be average violin players; practice time only makes up around 25 percent of the difference in ability and performance.

In short, no matter how hard you work, you may not be able to be Tom Brady. Or Serena. Or Itzhak Perlman. Or “even” Charlie Daniels.

The same is true in many pursuits. No matter how much we study, you and I will likely never be as smart as Brene Brown, or Beyonce, or Kizzmekia Corbett. No matter how hard we train, we’ll likely never be as fit as Nims Purja. No matter how hard we network, we’ll likely never be as connected as GaryVee.

In nearly every pursuit, the talent you bring — or, by extension, the education or background or resources you bring — tends to matter more than the skills you work hard to develop.

But not if you want to be an entrepreneur.

The most successful entrepreneurs I know didn’t try to become something they were not; they started with who they are, and grew from there. The high school drop-out who built a $50 million construction company. Or the high school drop-out who turned his personal beliefs into a blueprint for founding successful companies. Or the MIT grad who realized that small businesses could market in an entirely different way.

If you want to start a small business, who you are today is enough to get started. In fact, trying to become someone else, especially early on, is almost always counterproductive.

Most successful entrepreneurs took what already knew or could do and used it to find a way to meet a need. Solve a problem. Satisfy a demand.

Know how to drive? You can become an Uber driver, and build from there. Know how to code? You can take freelance gigs, and build from there. Know how to build decks? You can start building decks for neighbors, and grow — both your business and yourself — from there.

You don’t have to work or train or study to become an entrepreneur.

You can become an entrepreneur today, and then work and train and study to become a better entrepreneur.

But not better than someone else. Better than who you were yesterday.

Because you don’t have to be Brady or Beyonce or Brown to be a successful entrepreneur. You just have to get started.

And then hard work to become a better you.

The post Think You Can Be Anything You Want to Be? Science Says No–Unless You Want to Be an Entrepreneur appeared first on Inc.

Original source: Inc.

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