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Brilliant Failures

By Marty Nemko

I've had clients who, despite great intelligence, failed in their careers. A common reason: failure to stay focused. They enjoy coming up with ideas but won't stay focused on the details of implementation. They'd love to delegate those details but few jobs allow thinkers to just toss out ideas and leave all the implementation to others. A related problem: brilliant failures get distracted by finding "interesting" side paths that unnecessarily complicate and delay a project. Both problems stem from hedonism: succumbing to the temptation of what's new rather than focusing on what's essential. The lesson: even brilliant people need discipline.

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