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Does Intelligence Equal Success?

Keith Tucker


Special to The Enterprise

Most of us think that in order to succeed one needs a fair amount of what we call smarts. That is not always the case, but in most cases, that is true. Like with president U. S. Grant. Intelligence did not keep him from a bad outcome. As great of a general and President as he was, at a point late in his life, he lost his entire fortune through a company his son and a crooked partner founded. He then made another fortune with his memoirs after he died. We think Elon Musk is so successful because he is so sweet.  Not. Try smart. Then there is the story of Joe daaa. His classmates called him that because when the teacher called on him his answer was always daaaa well I don’t know. So, after graduation his only opportunity was with the military. While being deployed in Asia he came across a man making a unique widget. When he got out of the Army, he started buying these widgets for a dollar and selling them for three dollars back in the states. At this next class reunion when he pulled up in a chauffeur-driven limousine with a beautiful model on each arm, everyone was amazed at his success. He told them that he never knew three percent could add up so fast. Obviously, his math skills were still daaa not so good. Then there is the value of old money. When your family has amassed a fortune like the Vanderbilt’s or Kennedy’s, it’s a lot easier path to success. You have to screw up a lot to not make it and generally there is some guidance along the way. We seem to respect people who started with nothing and were successful a little more than those who had it handed to them. However, there’s those who took a good business and made it a great business. That, however, is the exception. Less than one percent of businesses make it past three generations. Handing a business over to successors is one of the most difficult parts in the life cycle of any business. I would say that farming would be one of the most difficult businesses to start from scratch. The cost of land and equipment is prohibitive. If you had $5 million in the bank, would you take it and get into farming that requires the long hours and has such a potential for weather-related losses? It’s one of those things if you don’t love it, you don’t need to be in it. The problem with selling a lot of small businesses is any prospective buyer has to pay for the business while making a living out of it. That is often difficult. All that said. There are many paths to success. Just find the right one for you. Plus, you don’t have to be wealthy to be a success. I know a lot of teachers and preachers who are considered outstanding successes that did not amass a fortune.

Editor’s note: Keith Tucker is a Greenfield resident and owner of The Marble Shop. He may contacted by email at

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