Sorry Mr. Trump, But I Can’t Buy That

25Nov06

I was listening to an interview with Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki whilst driving a few days back. They were being interviewed about their new book, ‘Why We Want You to be Rich: Two Men – One Message‘.

Why We Want You to be Rich 

Then Trump pointed out something quite interesting – that being a successful entrepreneur had partly to do with genes. “What’s Levis got to do with this?” was the first thought that popped into my head, “One to many martinis, Mr. Trump?” But common sense concluded that he was in fact talking about our gene pool.

Pressure, according to Trump, is what makes or breaks an entrepreneur. He mentioned that he had brilliant friends who were from Wharton School of Business and Harvard, but failed in businesses which they had never recovered from. Simply because they could not handle the pressure. And it’s this ability to handle pressure, Trump believes, that makes successful entrepreneurs; or as a popular BusinessPundit contributor would say, a ‘high quality entrepreneur’. Genes, it seems, have something to do with this. I guess Mr. Trump is a strong proponent of the phrase, “Either you have it, or you don’t.” The final piece of advice I got out of him before I stepped out of the car – if you cannot handle the pressure, don’t be an entrepreneur.

Really? And what exactly can a person do that does not involve pressure? Can I infer from this that employees are exempt from the pressure to perform for their bosses? Nurses and doctors are exempt from the pressure to save a person’s life? Firefighters are exempt from the pressure to charge into a burning building to put out fires and save lives? Parents are exempt from the pressures of raising children? Are the pressures of being an entrepreneur any more significant than that of our everyday heroes?

People simply react differently to pressure. My interpretation of pressure is, me watching Elton John crooning on TV, whilst singing and gyrating along to The Weather Girls’s, ‘It’s Raining Men’ on the radio when the wife and her girlfriends suddenly barge into the room. That’s pressure for me. Under such circumstances, I would rather be in a fireman’s position – charging into a burning building than face whatever it is I’m about to face.

Bill Clinton handled pressure by flat out lying to the world about not having sexual relations with that woman. Clinton handled political pressure by lying. Someone else in the same situation, who is averse to lying, would probably handle the pressure differently. Suicide? Possibly, but that’s how that person handles pressure.

And do we really need another reason to raise the age-old debate of nature vs nurture? Are successful entrepreneurs like Trump, a product of ‘natural selection’ as evolutionists would have you believe? Or can successful entrepreneurs be trained – which includes training to withstand pressure (yeah, like those guys flying the F-16s. But the Airforce would probably have you believe they were born to fly. So, there we go again.)?

Whether great entrepreneurs are born rather than made is simply too hard to prove. There are so many variables at play here that one just cannot zero in on one specific area to be the determinant factor for an entrepreneur’s failure and worse still – attribute that to not having the right DNA configuration.

The failure of Trump’s friends from Wharton and Harvard can only be good news for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs. If nothing else, it proves that entrepreneurial success and business acumen is not dependent on ‘esteemed’ paper qualifications. Anyone can be a great entrepreneur. Being able to handle the pressure is one thing. Having the guts to pick one’s self up and come back stronger is another. I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said, “ By ‘guts’, I mean, grace under pressure.” Or, does someone have to be born with courage too? Where does this end?

The problem I have with some of these ‘mentors’ who spew their ‘advice’ on a sometimes gullible audience, is the consequences their words have over some people. I don’t know if Mr. Trump got to where he is today by sitting idly by and collecting the ‘pearls of wisdom’ rolling out of his mentors’ mouths. I would assume he worked his butt off, failed a couple of times, picked himself up again and again, learned from his failures as well as others’, and pushed on. Attribute that to persistence and perseverance. And don’t let anybody tell you, “either you have it, or you don’t.”

So, pause for a while, take a deep breath, and realize once and for all that we are only to take responsibility for our own actions. Stop using excuses like, ‘the inability to withstand pressure’ as a crutch to stand on. Start living with the consequences of your decisions and earn your own respect. If you’re gonna be a successful entrepreneur, it’s time to start studying the actions of ‘mentors’, instead of just listening to them.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

                                 – Napoleon Hill



One Response to “Sorry Mr. Trump, But I Can’t Buy That”


  1. 1 Mark Cuban vs. Donald Trump vs. Rosie O’Donnell « @ t E c H n O p R e N e U r

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