Alexander Hamilton on Focus


Here is an excerpt from, Tough Man, Tender Chicken written by Frank Perdue’s wife, Mitzi Perdue:

During the entire 17 years of our marriage, I was always on the lookout for just what it was that made him such a success. I saw that he was very good at the practicalities of figuring out how to get from wherever he was to wherever he wanted to be. He had drive, endless curiosity, studied whatever it was he wanted to with at least the dedication of a Ph.D. student, but most of all, I thought he had a striking ability to see opportunities that were invisible to others and then to make those opportunities a reality.

For the record, Frank himself never shared my view that he was exceptional. If you asked him, he’d be a little embarrassed and mumble something about being in the right place at the right time. If you pressed him further, he would almost certainly have said something about having the good fortune to work with great people. But if you really, really pressed him and wouldn’t let up, he’d repeat a quote that his daughter-in-law Jan Perdue had calligraphed for him and that was displayed prominently behind his desk in his office at home. It was from Alexander Hamilton, and he knew it by heart:

“Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night, it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”

Ian's comment: This quote also reminded me of one by Swami Vivekananda:

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Mitzi Perdue, widow of Frank Perdue, contacted us wanting to write a case study for us on her father Ernest Henderson, co-founder of Sheraton Hotels. Members can access this case study [HERE].

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