Acumen – Or Just Dumb Luck?

People look upon other people’s success stories with awe. They hear or read about this or that accomplishment, and instinctively tack it up as, “That person must have been brilliant, I couldn’t have done that.” Then they read no further into the details to see if it was because of that persons brilliance they accomplished so much or, was it purely right place – right time.

Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. There are times that being ready, and preparing yourself as to take advantage of situations that others never seen coming can many times be viewed by outsiders as only “luck.” However we all should know as entrepreneurs the real difference.

Becoming a “gazill-ionaire” in real estate during times when anyone breathing (and at times that seemed to be not that important) could rack up debt of literally hundreds of millions of dollars. Then lose it all during the housing crisis. To then write books for others to follow in today’s economy under the guise of. “Make Millions In Real Estate Easily Like I Did!” is a little disingenuous at best. However, there are far too many of these types of books out there than I care to discuss. Many of these along with quite a few other “business” books I refer to as, “Romance novels.”
Here’s how I described such things in an earlier article:

“Some call them “How to Guides” I call them “Romance Novels.” Just as love stories are filled with a cacophony of fresh flowers, walking on clouds, and love forever after, most business books paint the world of entrepreneurship as if any haze along the path should be viewed as a cloud of perfume because once through it, you’ll come out smelling sweeter on the other side. For many whom made this jump, perfume is not the first scent that comes to mind.”

This isn’t to say all of them fall into this category. Many are very explicit in their details of what they had to go through or, what they had to do as to keep it. Honesty is usually felt throughout such books when you’re reading them. However, if you ever have that feeling as your thumbing through or thinking about spending valuable time in actually reading one of these. Here’s a quick metaphor that I use when I find myself wondering if it’s really worth my time. (I state this because I have read literally hundreds and had to come with my own quick reference to save my own sanity.)

What was the environment (as in economic climate, etc.) did this person operate or conduct all their successes? i.e.,

Can their successes fit within the narrative of a car that only had the gear selection of DRIVE? In other words, there really was no other choices because everyone was going down the same road in the same direction. No one really needed to know “how to drive” or “what to do.” All one had to do was just get in the car because everyone seemed to be on or following the same road. Or….

Was it a case where nobody understood how a car worked let alone as to drive one. Where even if you found yourself inside one out of happenstance, you still needed to understand whether to engage the shifter into DRIVE mode. And consequently if you didn’t understand what the little “R” on the shifter meant you could really get yourself into trouble and probably did so.

If I pick something up and I get the feeling it was more than just plain luck – I buy it. Regardless if the scenery on the trip might not be all that picturesque. For at least I can say I may never had ventured there personally but, I’ll know why I might need to visit it or – avoid it all together. Because, all I want to know before I take the trip: Is this a trip to no where? Or fantasy land?

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr