While everyone of us aspire to be Bill gates or Steve Jobs, very few achieve a fraction of their success. So what’s the key behind their success that has evaded you? It seems the key is the risk taking ability. According to a study, entrepreneurs who take risky business decisions are more likely to achieve success.
Research conducted by University of Cambridge scientists has revealed that riskier decision makers are much more probable to become entrepreneurs than their managerial counterparts.
Traditionally, taking risks has been associated with abnormal behavior among those who take drugs or are suffering from bipolar disorder. But the new study throws light on this behavior. It suggests that dangerous decision-making may have an evolutionary value for grabbing opportunities in a rapidly changing environment. It even goes on to say that perhaps in the future, this ability can be altered by pharmaceuticals.
Entrepreneurs prefer to start their own business instead of working in an organization, even though there are a whole load of risks associated with it like money, status, family stability and even self-confidence.
The one ability that made entrepreneurs stand out from others is – Functional Impulsivity. It is this ability to make quick decisions under stressful conditions that makes entrepreneurs different from other people.
Researchers conducting this study hired 16 entrepreneurs from “Silicon Fen” along with 17 managers. Silicon Fen refers to the cluster of high-tech companies in and around Cambridge. The participants were asked to complete a computerisd neurocognitive assessment measuring various aspects of their decision-making capabilities. On a decision-making task that required ”cold” processes such as planning the opening of a consulting company or hiring staff, both groups fared the same. The results were startling when it came to making ‘hot’ or risky decisions that involved evaluating rewarding or punishing outcomes. In these tests, entrepreneurs showed superior cognitive flexibility. Researchers stated that the study has shown that not all risk-taking is harmful, particularly when combined with enhanced flexible problem solving.
The scientists involved in the study concluded that ‘hot’ decision making is a critical component of the entrepreneurial process and it may be possible to teach this skill, particularly to young adults where higher risk taking is likely and age-appropriate. The cognitive flexibility has been related to the brain’s neurotransmitter, dopamine. The study has raised questions whether drugs can be used to alter dopamine levels which will result in changes in risk taking abilities on the subject.
I guess people have been trying to “bottle” desired personal traits since the dawn of time. However, it is certainly interesting to note the things that make us who we are.