2) Hard work
Talent had been an obvious asset as far back as when some bright spark suggested round wheels — who knows what they were using before?!
But the concept that hard work was necessary to succeed was not so obvious. Through much of last 1000 years of European history, those who had to work hard to earn a living were regarded as lower class. Hard work was associated with the outdoors, and so those who had ‘pale faces’ by staying inside, were thought of as ‘better people.’
Notice the portraits of that period, any whiter and they would shine. Truth be told, the Europeans have a history of believing that talent alone will always carry the day (I come from Europe).
This goes a long way to explain European resentment of American success. Europe has long resisted the idea that hard work especially when combined with talent, trumps talent alone. Europe still prides itself (justifiably) for being the global center for great and innovative design. Their frustration comes from not realizing the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, plus countless other examples no longer makes the world go round.
Unfortunately, my readers on both sides of the Atlantic are going to be insulted when I say, there is hardly a European city that has less architectural glamour than all of America put together. But the truth is, I am only insulting the European side. The vast majority of European wealth is classified as priceless, which is economic shorthand for: you can’t use it to pay the bills.
If 20th century success was the result of hard work AND talent. Then the prize of the 21st century will go to those who, in addition to hard work and talent, are able to work together.
The ability to work together is the secret to America’s current success. You might be thinking I have lost it again, "America working together?"
However, other than talent, the other two ingredients don’t need to be an absolute standard, you just have to work harder than everyone else and work together more than everyone else. And in this, America is at the top.
Of course, that doesn’t preclude that I still may have lost it.
Think of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, individuals with talent and hard work. Now think of Boeings’ Dreamliner or MS Vista. The development of which could only be achieved through groups of people working together.
Today, no one person has sufficient brain power to achieve the famous successes of history. In this, the study of history will be disappointing; whereas talent made for greatness until the industrial revolution, the advent of which, introduced hard work as the sublime social equalizer. Now however, the new story is just being written, and there are few amongst us who understand, working together is the golden rule.
Unfortunately, this insight is still lost on our greater culture, our heroes are typically individuals, even when they need a team (sports). Even the fictional ones are single minded (Batman, Indiana Jones). True, we do have some exceptions, Power Rangers & Ninja Turtles, but they are the exception, although I hope they become the rule. It’s by making our childhood heroes team players that will lay the foundation for this revolution.
So, getting back to our question, why don’t people work together? Essentially because they don’t see it as an asset, they think it’s charity, "I’ll help you out because I’m a nice guy."
But look around you, who are the people who get ahead. Most think it’s because they were at the right place at the right time. And that is true, but getting to the right place at the right time happens to the team player many more times a day than the loner.
Royalty used to paint their faces white, because it was viewed as low class to earn a living by working hard. We still think that making it alone is a sign of genius, the reality is however, anyone who thinks they made it alone is delusional.
Everyone on Capitol Hill ascribes their success to others, it’s become the way it’s done. For some it’s just payback, but for the one’s who understand, they mean it.