Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Others

I was watching Scorsese's documentary on Bob Dylan last night, "No Direction Home." When he got to the part where Dylan goes to New York and the Village the first time, there was a discussion of how happening the music scene was there at the time. There were tons of people playing in clubs and in Washington Square Park, hoping to get noticed and make it big. In Dylan's case, of course, we know what happened. The guy ended up doing okay for himself.

But what about the others? Almost every time I read a biography of someone wildly successful, I always end up thinking about the ones who never made it big. The ones who, like most of us, just had ordinary lives.

A buddy of mine read a book of a business luminary, and found it to be very inspiring. He said, "the lesson from this book is to think big and dream big. That's how the guy got so successful." But to me, the question is, for every entrepeneur who makes billions, there are many other businessmen who fail. Are you telling me that the others didn't dream big?

One thing I've noticed in almost every biography I've read, whether it's about a president, a baseball HOFer, or a CEO - at some critical point in their life, they caught a break. Someone noticed them at a certain time, they got some random piece of advice, whatever.

When it comes down to it, it's probably not a bad thing to dream big. It's a great motivator. But you still need the breaks, the hashgacha pratis. And things like that, not so much the dreams, the abilties, and the efforts, are often what separate the famous ones from the footnotes.


Anonymous SIL said...

I think these people do have the uncanny ability to put themselves in the right place at the right time. Some of it may be luck, sure, but when I read about these people I see them taking chances and putting themselves in situations that I would never put myself into. I think that you need the right combo of talent, personality, and being amenable to risk taking.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, there's definitely an element of luck in every success. Yes, these people worked hard, had the talent, and took chances, but without a bit of luck, they wouldn't be what they later on became.

Sil, I'd love for you to give an example of someone who benefited from no luck ar all.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous SIL said...

All I'm saying is that what the untrained eye often interprets as luck is often something quantifiable. I was trying to give one example of what that might be, but I am sure that in each individual case there are various factors (not just "luck") that cause the end result.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Well, yeah--for a while Britney Spears was the top earning Pop Singer. Is she talented? Hell to the N-O. But, her mom Lynne was really ambitious, taking her to a million auditions...and they were already rags to riches there. Similar to Jessica Simpson (who does have talent) she has a crazy ambitious father who made sure she was noticed. So, most of the time it IS about being at the right place at the right time, not nec the best at what u do.

7:02 PM  

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