Eighty Percent of Success Is Showing Up—and Showing Up, and Showing Up

| July 28, 2009

In my last post, I said that addiction to ambition is a good thing: Find your perfect pitch, a great idea, believe in yourself, and work, work, work. That’s all well and good, but it can’t be that simple, can it? What if you don’t have that brilliant, category-killing idea? Not all of us can be business geniuses. David Rubenstein, who became the richest man in the nation’s capital through his investments in private equity, is widely considered one of the smartest people in Washington. Not so, he told me: “When you get older in life, you realize there are very few geniuses in this world. Most likely, you will never meet one, and Randy, you did not meet one today.” Rubenstein is certainly no dummy, but just as there are brilliant successes who are less than brilliant, there are also plenty of smart, unsuccessful people. Brains is part of the equation, but it’s not the determining factor in becoming an RMIT.

Benevolent Dictators

| July 6, 2009

Over this Independence Day weekend, I was thinking about how one of our defining traits as Americans is our strong emphasis on the individual. I’ve written about the benefits of partnering with someone who complements your perfect pitch so that you can be free to play to your strengths. Dennis Albaugh, the richest man in Des Moines, Iowa, told me, “I have always hired people who are smarter than I am.” I heard this refrain from virtually every RMIT I interviewed: selecting the right team, the right employees, and the best advisers is essential to their success. But make no mistake—there can only be one king.

Take the Easy Way In

| 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.