Friday, June 26, 2009

A Witty Response

Well, Cornelius, you have led with quite the opening salvo in our battle of wits, but I do believe that I shall clearly be proven the victor. My question comes from a Mr. Trump, a prominent industrialist and all-around victorious man.

What lessons can we learn from successful entrepreneurs?: "Even though I'm a successful entrepreneur, I know I always have more to learn. Continuing to get ideas from new people and learn helps me stay successful. What lessons about entrepreneurship can you share?"
--Donald Trump

While my answer may seem quite obvious to most other prominent gentleman, I do believe it needs to be said otherwise. All of one's goals in life are best served by applying the immutable principles of business to them, whether the goals be financial, romantic or even religious. Therefore, in order to be universally successful, a few tenets must be applied to all facets of life.

1. Hierarchy is the key to success. Have you heard of a Fortune 500 company with a group of CEOs? What great inventions have been marketed through a collective? Just as control must ultimately rest in the hands of one man in industry, so it must be in all facets of your life. To illustrate how I use this principle in my personal life, let me explain how disputes are solved within my family unit: in my home, my word is law. To communicate this to my subordinates, instead of being referred to as "Father," "Dad" or (God forbid) my Christian name, I demand that my wife and children call me "Chairman." If this title is not used, the offender is subsequently ignored for the remainder of the day. In addition, all decisions made within the family are ultimately left to my control. Howver, just as in business, some input is necessary, as no individual decisionmaker has all the relevant information. To this end, I have installed a suggestion box, where all family members are allowed to submit a comment of up to fifty words on a subject they believe I should address.

2. Self-interest is the only interest. How does one better themselves by thinking of others? While many bleeding-hearts have promoted the idea of a "general welfare" or a "concern for others," this serves only to distract the successful man from bettering himself. The finest businesses have always had a single-minded focus on the profit margin; while "liberals" were always concerned with matters such as "worker's rights" and child safety, the healthy industrialist always kept his eye on his primary target, and was the better for it. Similarly, the best individuals are consistently "looking out for number one."

3. Expansion, expansion, expansion. Just as a thriving business is a growing business, a thriving man is a growing man. Clearly, this is not meant literally. However, one is hard-pressed to say that a man with a smaller house is happier than one with a mansion, one with a Miata is happier than one with a Hummer, and one with two sons working in his bobbin factory is happier than one with a human menagerie minding his textiles. The clear solution, then, is a matter of the most basic mathematics: happiness is correlated directly with one's possessions, be they real estate, liquid assets, or one's family members. In order to be a happy, healthy individual, then, one must be constantly pursuing new possessions and expanding one's "personal empire."

While this list is not comprehensive, it does contain the three principles that I use to organize my life. I hope this could be of some help, Donald, and wish that you could have only a fraction of the personal success that I have.

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