A new study has linked a mysterious parasite to an increase in entrepreneurship.
Toxoplasma Gondii isn’t exactly something you want to go out and get in contact with, no matter your goals as an entrepreneur. But curiously, those infected have shown to have advantages in certain areas.
The study was published by the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and said that university students who tested positive for the parasite were more likely to be business majors. Professionals who tested positive were more likely to start a business.
This parasite can be found in undercooked or contaminated meat, as well as contaminated water. But the real kicker is the primary source where the parasite is found – in cat feces. This isn’t to say anyone who cleans out their furry friend’s litterbox will suddenly be headed to the Fortune 500 ranks, but it does make one wonder why the link between these two seemingly unrelated things.
Stefanie Johnson led the study and said the correlation yielded interesting results. For example, those who lived in a country where the parasite was more prevalent said their people cited less of a fear of failing when it came to business matters. Does this curious creature give people more tenacity? More bravery? Could it minimize the thought process regarding risk? Does it act in a way that’s conducive to more strategic thinking?
Johnson said: “New ventures have high failure rates, so a fear of failure is quite rational. T. Gondii might just reduce that rational fear.” However, she also noted that there’s no way to tell whether the businesses started by those with the parasite are more likely to succeed or fail in the long run when compared to the businesses of non-carriers.
The test saw nearly 1,500 students tested for the parasite, with 22 percent of them testing positive. Those who were in business classes had their skills compared in terms of management, accounting, finance, and more. The results showed those who are positive are 1.4-times more likely to major in business, and among business majors in particular, those who tested positive are 1.7-times more likely to focus on management or entrepreneurship.
The rate about those who had started their own business came from saliva samples gathered from nearly 200 ppounds and results showed those positive for the parasite were 1.8-times more likely to have started a company.
It’s also important to reinstate the fact that correlation doesn’t necessarily lead to causation. The often cited rising of drowning rates along with the sale of ice cream doesn’t mean the sugary treat drives its hosts to be reckless around water. People are more likely to buy ice cream and swim during the warmer months of the year, thus the two figures see similar increases despite not directly influencing one another.
Maybe this parasite is simply more likely to grow in a certain body, and maybe those bodies are also simply more business-minded? Either way, we’d rather hit the books and get experience than chancing parasitical infection to achieve success.