Take the Easy Way In

Posted By on June 26, 2009

Our Puritan work ethic dictates that we have to strive to overcome our weaknesses, face our deficits head on, take the bull by the horns. Well, that’s bull. If you can stay away from the things that don’t bring you joy and excitement, that aren’t of interest to you, you free yourself to use your strengths. If you’re not a numbers person, you shouldn’t be an accountant. If you can’t play guitar, forget being a rock star. If you aren’t good at basketball, don’t dream of your day in the NBA. RMITs divest themselves of the things they don’t naturally excel at, enjoy, or find emotionally and intellectually stimulating. They seek more pleasure, less pain. This isn’t shirking; the RMITs are the hardest-working people on the planet, but they direct their energies into the things they excel at, and find partners who can help fill in the gaps. The results speak for themselves.
Fred Levin, the richest man in Pensacola, Florida, told me, “Taking the path of least resistance is the surest way to finding your pathway to success.” Levin never doubted for a moment what his path was: he wanted to be a successful trial attorney. Pensacola’s most televised lawyer, and Florida’s most successful litigator, Levin has a natural talent for playing to an audience, whether in the media or the jury box. Some might call it a gift for self-promotion—his friend Jack Kemp is fond of saying that “the most dangerous place to get in a boxing ring is between Fred Levin and the camera”—but his perfect pitch has helped him win hundreds of millions of dollars from the tobacco companies. “While this may be counter to what most of us grow up hearing from family and friends,” Levin told me, “the old refrain, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to . . . simply isn’t true. It doesn’t pay to become a Greek tragedy like Sisyphus constantly pushing a boulder up the mountain only to see it cascade back down the hill.” In other words, don’t focus on how to move the boulder—focus on what you’re going to build with it. Drop that rock, find somebody with a truck, and get up that hill.

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About The Author

W. Randall Jones is the author of The Richest Man in Town. Visit the About W. Randall Jones and About The Richest Man in Town pages to learn more.