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by The Leasing Group

Ben Horowitz, a founding partner of a Silicon Valley powerhouse venture capital firm, once made the observation that the entrepreneur himself/herself is more important than whatever idea said entrepreneur might have. He noted that the two key qualities he looks for in an entrepreneur are brilliance and courage.

Obviously a successful entrepreneur benefits from being smart and savvy beyond pure book intelligence. The benefit of brilliance likely rings true across all professions.

But courage?

“The reason for the second,” said Horowitz, “is that the other virtues we generally associate with success – honesty, integrity, etc. – all flow from courage. Without courage, the others go by the wayside in times of stress. For example, without courage, you won’t be honest, especially when the idea you staked your fortune and reputation on proves to be lousy and needs to be changed.”

Horowitz did not mention the influences of determination, self-sacrifice or focus, all very important traits commonly associated with success. Maybe that’s because these traits, too, each have their root in courage. It takes guts to believe in yourself, to trust your intuition and stay the course, especially if and when you find yourself surrounded by voices of negativity and doubt.

Perhaps Horowitz is right. Perhaps courage really is the single most important characteristic an entrepreneur can have. 

(The thoughts on courage and brilliance are credited to the following Business Insider article, which reported on comments Horowitz made at this past year’s Digital-Life-Design conference: .)


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