In recent times, entrepreneurship has been hailed as the next step for the working world. Indeed, the working world frequently extols people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson as shining beacons of light to be followed to enlightenment. However, many people make the common mistake of believing that these people are the smartest and brightest of the lot.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his best-selling book Outliers, categorically disproved the correlation of IQ and success in life when he chronicled the account of the smartest man in the world, Chris Langan. His IQ is so far past 200 that tests couldn’t give him an accurate score (read: Albert Einstein’s IQ was around 150). In school, he was so far ahead that he found himself teaching his own professors. Yet, Langan ended up working as a bouncer on Long Island for 20 years, and currently is a farmer writing about a “Theory of Everything”. Clearly, paper smarts have no direct correlation to life success.

It seems that the principles of entrepreneurship run counter to the educational systems that we have in place now. We teach our children that, in order to be successful in life, they must be obedient and study hard to score well in tests. The earlier example thoroughly demonstrates that being smart does not guarantee success in life.

Additionally, a recent study by German and Swedish researchers found that, on the contrary, entrepreneurs tended to display anti-social behavior in their adolescence. Dr. Martin Obschonka, from the University of Jena, termed this as “productive rule breaking”, that might turn out to be the “basis for a productive and socially acceptable entrepreneurship”.

Professor Peter Saville had similar sentiments. He found that teenage rebellion shows “energy” and “vitality”, and entrepreneurs usually were “not stupid enough to commit major crimes”.

At the end of the day, it seems clear that obedience and smartness have (almost) nothing to do with being successful in life. Bo Peabody, author of the book Lucky or Smart? Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life, attributes a large part of success to luck instead, and it’s worth ending this article by quoting from his book at length here:

Luck is a part of life,and everyone, at one point or another, gets lucky. Luck is also a big part of business life and perhaps the biggest part of entrepreneurial life. At the very least, entrepreneurs must believe in luck. Ideally, they can recognize it when they see it. And over time, the best entrepreneurs can actually learn to create luck.

Luck in business is different from regular old luck, like when you find $20 on the sidewalk. First of all, being lucky in business has an intoxicating underbelly called believing you’re smart. No one actually believes that he should take credit for finding $20 on the sidewalk. But when people get lucky in business, they are often convinced that it is not luck at all that brought them good fortune. They believe instead that their business venture succeeded thanks to their own blinding brilliance.

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