• Chief Executive, Foxymojo & Co

  • Advisor, eFounders Fellowship at Alibaba Group

  • Ambassador & Mentor, Seedstars

  • Director of Alphaus Cloud

  • Member, Malaysia-Japan Economic Association

  • Industry Partner at Universiti Utara Malaysia

  • Advisor, Global South Tech

  • Industry Advisor, Quest University

As I travel around the world, meeting entrepreneurs and investors in the many innovation hubs that are springing up everywhere, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “Are entrepreneurs born, or made?”

Is there some genetic predisposition to being an entrepreneur?  Or are entrepreneurs molded by their education and experiences?

I believe we are all born entrepreneurs.  Millions of years of evolution have shaped our DNA into a bias toward being hustlers.  Ancient humans who lacked the hustle gene died early and did not have children.

We are all born entrepreneurs.  Have you ever negotiated with a four year-old?  Kids are awesome negotiators. Have you ever marveled at the energy and dogged persistence of children?  Most children are extraordinarily ambitious — they see world-class athletes and artists and they say, “I can do that!”  And then our education, culture and experience beats our ambitions into submission.

We don’t have to teach people how to be hustlers.  We have to unteach them the fear and timidity that they have learned growing up.

We are surrounded by opportunities.  Some see the world as deeply flawed and spend their days complaining.  Others see the world as full of possibilities that are not yet realized and spend their days finding novel solutions to improve it.

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why?  I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

That is the spirit of a child, in words written by a genius, George Bernard Shaw.  He also understood how our cultural norms and traditional education hold back the spirit of innovation in all of us:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

The world often views entrepreneurs as unreasonable, even crazy.  But entrepreneurs just see opportunity more clearly, and are less constrained by conventional attitudes.

May you open your mind to all the opportunities around you and find your inner hustler!

As I travel around the world, meeting entrepreneurs and investors in the many innovation hubs that are springing up everywhere, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “Are entrepreneurs born, or made?” Is there some genetic predisposition to being an entrepreneur?  Or are entrepreneurs molded by their education and experiences? I believe we are all born entrepreneurs.  Millions of years of evolution have shaped our DNA into a bias toward being hustlers.  Ancient humans who lacked the hustle gene died early and did not have children. We are all born entrepreneurs.  Have you ever negotiated with a four year-old?  Kids are awesome negotiators. Have you ever marveled at the energy and dogged persistence of children?  Most children are extraordinarily ambitious — they see world-class athletes and artists and they say, “I can do that!”  And then our education, culture and experience beats our ambitions into submission. We don’t have to teach people how to be hustlers.  We have to unteach them the fear and timidity that they have learned growing up. We are surrounded by opportunities.  Some see the world as deeply flawed and spend their days complaining.  Others see the world as full of possibilities that are not yet realized and spend their days finding novel solutions to improve it. “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why?  I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” That is the spirit of a child, in words written by a genius, George Bernard Shaw.  He also understood how our cultural norms and traditional education hold back the spirit of innovation in all of us: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” The world often views entrepreneurs as unreasonable, even crazy.  But entrepreneurs just see opportunity more clearly, and are less constrained by conventional attitudes. May you open your mind to all the opportunities around you and find your inner hustler!

Mohd Atasha is a proven Leader, Industry Advisor & International Negotiator. Executive Producer of Social Impact web series, ex-FDI (Fortune 500 listed companies) negotiator for Malaysia.