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How a Successful Business Person Thinks

At every point in one’s career, a successful business person thinks like this:

Nothing is personal.
Everything is just the “cost of doing business.”

Hold on to nothing.
Everything in the past is “sunk money”.

Go with the crowd.
Try to stay at the front of the crowd, but never go against the crowd.

Make deals.
The way to make more than a worker’s salary is to make deals with other businesses and with governments too.
Even if you make a lucky discovery or invent something people want, you will still be outcompeted, and probably bankrupt, unless you also succeed in making deals with other businesses and with government.

Although a successful business person can still benefit from some of the more traditionally promoted traits, such as industriousness, today, some of those more traditional traits are not only less relevant, but they are also becoming a liability. Today, the most successful trait is pure pragmatism.

These pragmatic guidelines go against our genetically programmed human nature. We like to imagine that everything is personal, we like to hold on to grudges, we like to hold on to the familiar, we like to avoid making commitments. Many of us even enjoy going against the crowd – just for fun – as I certainly do.

We could summarize such unsuccessful and unpragmatic human nature as placing too much importance on that which is small or irrelevant when weighed against our true values and our objective self-interest. As we evolved, such traits would have been successful because we always interacted with the same small group of people, but today, we interact with large numbers of people, and thus different traits are more successful – today.

Holding on to our small-group traits makes us small, and thus, such human nature is often referred to as small minded, and it is what makes us a small person.

Although we are genetically programmed to be petty, we have a brain. We can use our brain to override our genetic programming. We can choose.

We can choose to act on pettiness, pragmatism, or principles, but pragmatism is the trait of the successful business person – today.

Of course, we are genetically programmed to admire those who are principled rather than pragmatic. We wish we had their strength of character. Therefore, it is imperative, and pragmatic, for a politician (or business person) to pretend to be principled …

So, how does a pragmatic, and thus successful, business person think?

If organized crime shakes you down.
It is just the cost of doing business.

If the union shakes you down.
It is just the cost of doing business.

If the government regulates you – even if it is based on junk science.
It is just the cost of doing business.

If someone breaks a deal.
It is just the cost of doing business.

If your company is sued for any reason: sexual harassment, racial discrimination, big signs on your property, etc.
It was just the cost of doing business.

You can hire lawyers if there is a chance you can win, but that is just another cost/benefit analysis.
You can move operations to a more business friendly location, but that is just another cost/benefit analysis.
You can go on the offensive to discourage future injury, but that is just another cost/benefit analysis.

Few consciously decide to think like a successful business person.
Most succeed because they already think this way.

A successful business person is not a capitalist.
That would be holding on to an idea.

A successful business person is a pragmatist.
A successful business person is neither petty nor principled.

The same pragmatism that works in America today, worked in the USSR.
It is just that the cost of doing business was higher in the USSR.

You may have figured it out by now.
Today, a successful business person thinks like a politician.

It is the same in every country.
Exceptions are rare.

This was not always true.
It is the inevitable result of big government.

Today’s successful business person thrives in an environment that rewards those who cooperate with illogic, inconsistency, and corruption.
Today’s successful business person thrives in an environment that rewards those who cooperate with a continuous barrage of insults and injuries.
Today’s successful business person thrives in an environment that rewards those who cooperate with the banality of evil.

As a man of principle, I say:
Never cooperate with evil.
Do not ever cooperate with evil.

We can each become the person we want to be.
We can choose to live by principles rather than pettiness or pragmatism.

America was founded by individuals with exceptional principles.
America once had a free market that rewarded exceptional individuals.

If we can’t return to a free market.
If I can’t succeed in business while staying true to my principles.
If I must cooperate with evil.
I would rather stay hungry.

Jim
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Dennis Gorelik - December 4, 2011

So you are saying you don't want to be a pragmatist?

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Jim - December 5, 2011

A pragmatist has no principles. A pragmatist goes with the crowd. A pragmatist avoids conflict.

A pragmatist does what is expedient. A pragmatist will be racist when it is expedient to be racist, and then endorse affirmative action quotas when that is expedient. The two positions are not only contradictory, but both are wrong.

A pragmatist tells people what they want to hear. A pragmatist is a phony.

Are you saying you want to be a pragmatist?

Reply

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