Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Snowball- No Easy Road

As I’ve mentioned before I’m reading the Snowball, a book about the life of Warren Buffet. This is an 800 page behemoth of a book, but I find it very captivating. The first lesson I picked out of it was inner vs outer scorecard. The second lesson is that there is no easy road.

As I was sitting there watching Entourage on Monday (the only show I watch regularly now) a scene happened that made me think. Ari who is the main character’s agent, a very successful one, is talking to the main character’s driver (aka Turtle) about a business idea. Ari’s understudy Lloyd is trying to become an agent and the following interaction paraphrased happens.

Ari: “Lloyd get in here, I want the stack now” (pointing to a stack of approximately 20 scripts)

Lloyd: “This picture is about a country gentlemen caught up in the tangles of…”

Ari: “You see that Turtle he knows every single script in this stack. Why? Because he’s paying his dues. That's what you have to do to make it in this town.”

I used to not really subscribe to this ideology. I read the Dip by Seth Goden and agreed that it took drive to be the best and that the best was worth doing, but I thought if you were smart enough you could essentially smooth out the bumps in the road. Additionally, if you didn’t know what you wanted to be the best at then set your car to cruise and continue on down the road.

My opinion has changed. Through writing I have researched these little examples and read a few more. What I’ve come to realize is that I most often underestimate the level of work required for someone to achieve a high level of success. For example, hands down Warren Buffet is one of if not the best investing mind in the history of capitalist markets. He worked extremely hard for it too. The man gave up everything and studied stock pages, financial statements, and business periodicals for years and years. In fact, he still does it today. I’m not talking about an 8 hour shift either. Buffet usually went home and worked. He didn’t just pay his dues he went well above and beyond what most would consider excellent. Additionally, most experiences in life that required us to work hard will teach us something we can use later.

I’m not condoning Buffet's work ethic necessarily. He sacrificed a lot of things in regards to life experiences, family, and other activities. My point is that someone who is very naturally gifted still had to build and develop himself to become great. Buffet wasn’t born to make $96 billion dollars. He had to become that man. That is the ultimate secret of success. When no one believes in you, to keep pushing. To go above and beyond what is required or even deemed excellent. That is where the golden apple lies; in the realm where people push themselves beyond normal expectations.

I need to put more into my work. It’s one thing to know the answer and another to do it. In the back of my mind I always decided that success would come with a great idea and then properly executed I would sail to the top. That’s not the case. Goden touches on it, and Buffet epitomizes it. You have to work your way to the top. It’s not easy and you have to do more then what’s expected of you. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

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