"Press on! Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." Calvin Coolidge
"We are being ruined by best efforts." W. Edwards Deming.
Senator Scott Brown recently explained that he wouldn’t vote to confirm Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice though he thought she was brilliant because “[he] believe[s] nominees to the Supreme Court should have previously served on the bench. Lacking that, [he] look[s] for many years of practical courtroom experience to compensate for the absence of prior judicial experience. In Elena Kagan's case, she is missing both.”
President Obama is by all reports and my observation, brilliant. But I’m not too happy with him these days. I lived through the Reagan years, and he’s no Reagan when it comes to leadership. He spends too much of his time and effort trying to placate and lure the right towards his view, an approach the right has played masterfully. He waits for his own party to form some sort of consensus on issues and no time staking out a position and promoting its adoption. He’d probably be a world-class mediator.
I’ll take brilliant over dumb any day; but, I think there are a lot of things beyond being smart that go into being good at what you do: Temperament, experience as the Senator says, all of the characteristics laid out by President Coolidge and best efforts, despite what Mr. Deming said.
(Quotes courtesy of Thomas and Ron.)