Monday, June 1, 2009

Are You a Triple Threat?

Some years ago, while walking contentedly down the streets of Manhattan on a warm and peaceful summer afternoon, someone (known only to Entrepreneur Chick) in great thought about what makes a person *tick* or the lack of ticking thereof, said the following to me:

"Big Girl", this person began- "I think that there's essentially three elements to a person that makes them succeed."
"What do you think they are?" I wanted to know.

"I think they are":

(1.) Intelligence

(2) Talent

(3) Cunning

"For instance, take Babe Ruth." they elaborated, "Very talented guy. Hit a ball out of the park all the time. No one could touch him. But not very smart. Not very intelligent. Not very cunning. Proved to be his undoing."

"I see what you mean." I reflected.

I have often thought of these three points to this very day- as a matter of fact, I think of them all the time.

Here's a few of some of my own examples.

How about Nikola Tesla? 1856-1943. Have you heard of him? He was a fascinating, brilliant man. He makes the rest of us look like doodling children with play doh and coloring books- and that's being overly generous! He is best known for his scientific achievements- which are just too numerous to list. Nonetheless- he was off the charts intelligent- off the charts talented.
Tesla made the statement,

"Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe."

-Experiments With Alternate Currents Of High Potential And High Frequency" (February 1892)

BUT, Telsa was also the most horrible money manager you ever saw in your life. Died totally impoverished in a hotel room at 86.

How about Edgar Allen Poe? Amazingly gifted writer. Amazing talent. Highly intelligent. This is one of my particularly favorite lines from "The Raven" which I have committed to memory because I think it's so spectacular. Just listen as he all but paints this scene right in front of you-

"Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -This it is, and nothing more,'

Is that not spectacular? Who can write like that? You can just see that fireplace, see those embers come to life and die, see that curtain, causeless, move! Scary!

BUT Poe, with all his intelligence and talent, had no cunning- was stupidly horrid at marketing himself. Tragically, he dies penniless in a gutter.

A definition of cunning, if you please.
Not the illicit exploitation of others, but rather a sense of how to play the cards you've been dealt at just the right time. Intuitive, you could say- as an alternate word.

More on this idea of being a triple threat continued tomorrow.


  1. I am not sure I agree with the triple threat. Not trying to piss you off on the first blog:-) Just opening the room for debate. I think the most critical aspects are Focus, tenacity, and knowing what you are good at. I know many people who are intelligent, cunning, and have talent. You will find most collages are full of these people. However, a successful entrepreneur will believe in something and take it to the point that everyone else gives up. This is because they believe in their idea, sell it those who could care less, until they find someone who also cares. Are focused with one thing on their minds, to the detriment of other important things and stay with it till they are broke or able to go to the next great idea. Most entrepreneurs have difficult lives, because they are single minded and very few people can live with this mindset. It is almost compulsive. Many people start down this path, but very few stick with it once they understand the sacrifices and risk that need to be taken.

  2. Don, if you said, "My. Your butt looks fat in that dress." Yeah, that'd piss me off.
    Stay with me- check back tomorrow- because I'm going to show you a trick that entrepreneurs use to avoid how, as you said, "...very few stick with it once they understand the sacrifices and risk that need to be taken."