From the Roth School of Management
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
This is the Business We’ve Chosen
One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is delivered by Lee Strasberg’s character Hyman Roth in The Godfather: Part II. Roth is speaking to Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone about one of Roth’s now deceased friends; whom Roth is pretty sure was killed on Corleone’s orders.
I encourage you to watch the movie for the entire quote, but here’s the part relevant to this lesson:
“Someone put a bullet through his eye. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn’t angry; I knew Moe, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen.”
Where you are at right now is the business you chose. Regardless of how you think you got there; ultimately, you chose it. You chose the industry, the company, your managers and your job. You did this to you.
Why do I want you to understand your current role in these terms? Because there can be no complaints in your life if you expect to grow, to be happy, to succeed. Once you understand that you did this to you – that this is the business you chose – then you become capable of taking control of your work life and making adjustments rather than excuses.
Every career has its pros and its cons. When we’re on the outside, we generally only see the pros. For some people, when they’re on the inside they only see the cons. The cons – those nuisances common to your industry, your company, your boss or your role – are just shit sandwiches that we must eat if we want to reach our goals. Because, this is the business we’ve chosen. We don’t have to like them, but we do have to eat them.
Hyman Roth understood that even a wealthy gangster living in pre-Castro Cuba had to eat shit sandwiches. He fully understood his choices; and he chose to let this one go.
If there’s something negative you cannot “let go” in the business you’ve chosen, do you fully understand your choices? Complaining is not a choice, of course. But, because you are in control of you, you can either change it, change yourself, or shut the hell up and find a new business. Because, after all, this is the business you’ve chosen.