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Parents, We Need More Entrepreneurs
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Parents, We Need More Entrepreneurs

Apr 5 2014, 9:44am CDT | by

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it...

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16 weeks ago

Parents, We Need More Entrepreneurs

Apr 5 2014, 9:44am CDT | by

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. –Steve Jobs

The world needs more entrepreneurs . Today’s problems are really hard and we need a higher dose of entrepreneurial spirit to tackle them. I’m hoping parents can help.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. Always trying to bring business ideas or inventions to life. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got hooked on entrepreneurship and business. What instilled that entrepreneurial spirit in me and prepared me for all the exciting, exhilarating, and disappointing realities? Surely I wasn’t born with it; instead a variety of experiences helped light the entrepreneurial flame inside me.

Not surprisingly, it was my parents who first introduced me to business and entrepreneurship. Facing circumstances that they couldn’t solve in traditional ways, they sought to open their own businesses to provide for our family. This required a certain fearlessness and persistence that has stuck with me ever since. I consider myself lucky to have had these opportunities in the first place and I know not everyone gets that chance growing up.

My goal here isn’t to suggest that everyone should start companies or become entrepreneurs. Rather, parents can foster a valuable entrepreneurial spirit in their kids no matter what path their kids decide to take later in life. (Disclaimer: I’m not a parent or a expert in child development. Rather, I hope that sharing my personal story can start a conversation and maybe even inspire others.)

Variety sparks curiosity and comfort with new challenges

From a very young age, my mother encouraged me to try doing a variety of things I would have otherwise never done; unlike many other parents, this was not for the sake of resume building but because they thought it would teach me something. It turned out this made me endlessly curious about the world and extremely comfortable with new challenges.

She encouraged me to do karate, where I ended up fighting competitively for many years. She got me into acting (once even auditioning for a main role in Home Alone). She encouraged me to play basketball even though I was often the shortest player on my team. I did gymnastics, I played tennis, I started two companies before I was 18… among other things. Adapting quickly became my new normal and continues to be today as an entrepreneur. I was even voted “most likely to succeed” – not because I excelled academically like my peers, but because they could sense my ambition and willingness to try anything.

Not surprisingly, I failed more often than I succeeded at these new activities, which taught me to move past disappointment, figure out another approach to succeed, and keep going. Naturally, children get disappointed easily, so it’s important for them to seek out and experience failure early and then keep at it with a desire to do better next time around. For example, my height should have been a disadvantage for me in basketball. But then I learned I could make up for that – and then some – with speed. Later, as an entrepreneur, these experiences helped me become just a little more adaptable than the next guy when it came time to tackle new projects. While specialization seems to be a popular career move these days, being comfortable with unknowns and new challenges is also a powerful characteristic.

Competition supports a winning spirit and collaborative attitude

Being involved in competitive sports drives you to improve and win. While sports are a way to foster a healthy competitive and winning spirit, there are other options as well. For me, there was the Model United Nations program, which provided a platform beyond sports. We were required to do research in order to represent international delegations (like the actual UN) on important issues then go out and publicly defend those policies at conferences around the world. These events rewarded top delegates and the competition was cutthroat. Even though we competed individually most of the time, in order to win we had to collaborate with others. I quickly learned how to work with others toward a common goal and how to influence people with differing perspectives. I learned that winning while collaborating with a team was much more satisfying

As an entrepreneur, your immediate and extended teams (customers, advisors, investors, etc) are the real keys to success. Winning without the help of others is simply not possible.

Traveling fosters self-reliance and creative thinking

Home is a comfortable place, but it can make you complacent and overly reliant on what’s readily available to you. Traveling as a child (and later as a young adult), you come to realize that the world can function in totally different ways. There is not necessarily a “right” or “normal” way to do anything. That is, cars don’t always have to drive on the right side of the road, gas doesn’t always need to be calculated in gallons, food can be made of things you never imagined eating and could be prepared in many ways, and cars don’t all have to look the same. The business world, just like a foreign country you’ve never traveled to, requires that you are comfortable while navigating alone without a map.

The earlier you realize there is more than one way to do things, the sooner you’ll break the psychological barriers that keep you from taking on new challenges. If there were a single formula to success, everyone would be successful.

These lessons, ingrained in me as a child, have had important implications for my adult self and for my business. I’m now the CEO of a company called ReadyForZero , where we’re building resources to help people pay off debt faster. In this role I’m tested every day, and the lessons help me know how to respond. Not being a parent myself, I know it’s tough to make time or provide the means for making all this possible. However, I hope my personal experience can nevertheless inspire parents to try and foster a healthy entrepreneurial spirit in their children at an early age. Because we really do need more entrepreneurs!

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Raky ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last mo ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in c ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry M ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (K ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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