Apr 28 2011

First Rate Intelligence

First Rate Intelligence

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald, as he wrote in 1936 in “The Crack Up” (which you can read here in Esquire):
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

Before seeing this article recently, though, I’m not sure I’d ever seen the sentence that follows:

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

I’ve talked about the Highs and Lows of being an entrepreneur a couple times in the past — here as it relates to the entrepreneur, and here as it relates to the entire organization.  Whether or not this ability is indicative of intelligence (let alone a first-rate one), I’m not sure.  But I do think it’s very high on the list of skills that a successful entrepreneur has to possess.

The flip side of Fitzgerald’s second sentence, of course, is an equally poignant example.  These words are my own, so I won’t italicize them:

One should also be able to look at things that seem perfect and find the faults, weak spots, and potential challenges to their perfection

The best entrepreneurs have to hit both sides of this equation, every day.