Character Trumps Talent

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

~Theodore Roosevelt

Over the weekend I watched a movie called “The Hustler” starring Paul Newman. Paul Newman, who plays Eddie Felson, is a pool hustler trying to “hustle” Minnesota Fats played by Jackie Gleason. Newman is clearly the better player but his cockiness and lack of character causes him to lose big to Minnesota Fats in the beginning of the movie. Bert Gordon (the local mobster) tells Newman flat out that he’s the best pool player he has ever seen, but his lack of character caused him to lose to Fats. Gordan also calles him a “born loser.” Newman ends up beating Fats at the end of the movie but he had to change his mindset and not only rely on talent to beat him.

This got me thinking about the lack of character comment. Calvin Coolidge once said “nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” In an ever changing world where many are competing for the same job or position, talent isn’t enough anymore. Many of us are talented, smart, and educated but the game has changed and you have to showcase who you are, not what you can do.

Talent vs. Character

  1. Talent will only get you so far, character will define you for life.
  2. You’re born with talent, character is developed only by you.
  3. Talent can impress people, character inspires people.
  4. Talent only lasts until someone who is more talented comes by, character can’t be taken away and lasts forever.
  5. When you die, talent will only be remembered for so long, character will last way longer.
  6. Talent is a commodity, character is rare.
  7. Talent can earn you a living, character can make you rich.
  8. Talent is feared, character earns you power and respect.

*Make a list of what you want to be know for, not what you can do.

*Don’t forget to check out The 25 Rules of Action.

*Check out our new Quotes page that grows everyday. Most of these quote can also be seen on my twitter account @sdcohen.

Thanks for visiting and I will see you right back here for the next Action inspired post.

-SDC

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Seth D. Cohen (SDC) is the founder of Stop.Breathe.Action. You can follow him on twitter @sdcohen.

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