I am not ashamed to admit that I had several bouts of rebellion during my teenage years. I taught myself how to drive at the tender age of 13, once I found myself alone at home with my mother’s car keys and a strong desire for some Krystal’s Burgers. I also missed curfew a couple of times and traveled to neighborhoods in Memphis, TN even when I was told not to travel there. Let’s not even discuss the boyfriends I had whom my mother detested! On the outside looking in, I was a good kid who was in the National Honor Society and High School Pom Squad, but I was also very mischievous and a rebel of authority.
So it came as no surprise when I shared a Business Week article with my mother entitled, “Kids Who Get In Trouble Grow Up To Be Entrepreneurs.” Boy, did she get a laugh from this.
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Based upon a recent study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, there is a link between adolescent rule-breaking and an entrepreneurial spirit. The data was drawn from a Swedish research program that followed 1,000 school aged children from the ages of 10 to adulthood. The program considered events such as student arrests, traffic tickets, cheating at school, skipping school, consuming drugs and alcohol and missing classes. The study developed an “unruliness hypothesis” which supposes that “the same restlessness, impatience and allergy to authority that leads a kid to cut school and get high also leads him to start a photo-sharing network.” So, based upon this hypothesis, factors other than intelligence, creativity and the socio-economic status of the parents predicted adult entrepreneurship.
The study was quick to make a distinction between “rule breaking behavior” and “teenage crime” as the former “was based on what kids reported doing” and the latter “came from police reports”. Breaking rules had a correlation with entrepreneurship but having a criminal record did not. The point that the study made was that “modest misconduct” and “not full-blown criminal tendencies” plays a major role in recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit as the person participating in the “modest misconduct” knows what he/she can get away with “both as a young troublemaker and a start-up founder.”
The article basically states what I, as a former teenage rebel and current entrepreneur, can vouch for. I knew my limits in mischief and taking chances, but definitely tested them at home, in school and now in the workplace as a business owner.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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