“The greater fool is actually an economic term. It’s a patsy. For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool— someone who will buy long and sell short. Most people spend their life trying not to be the greater fool; we toss him the hot potato, we dive for his seat when the music stops. The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools.”
This quote comes from Aaron Sorokin’s The Newsroom and it is one of my favorite lines from the entire series. The main character, played by Jeff Daniels, is a celebrity host of a nightly news station. His character struggles between maintaining his own self image and being authentic by putting himself out there to ultimately make a positive impact on the world. After a negative article is released in which he is labeled the “greater fool,” his world crumbles and he is crippled by self doubt. This quote comes afterwards by a friend who steps in during his moment of weakness.
There are two big reasons why I appreciate this scene. The first one is simple. Here is a very powerful, complex character that is struggling because of self doubt. “With more power comes great responsibility.” In essence, it doesn’t get any easier the more successful we get. In fact, it gets much more difficult at times. The first reason I shared this quote is that it is coming from a friend who realizes a weak moment and steps in to fill a role of support. She encourages him in a way that he can understand…a language that he speaks. He has surrounded himself with support so that when things get tough, he doesn’t have to rely on positive self talk to get through hard times.
Here is the second reason I shared this quote. I love the greater fool. I desire to be the greater fool. I know some of you reading this desire to be the greater fool, “…someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed.” Does that describe you? In my opinion, there are plenty of people out there that are comfortable and satisfied. Not me. I love the greater fools among us. I love the ones that push the limits and throw themselves at a goal when others around them take the easy road.
Those are the men and women that make a difference and truly change the world. I believe that only a very small percentage of us want to be normal. I believe most of us want to accomplish great things. But I also believe only a small percentage of us take massive action and risk being called the “greater fool”. I give much respect to the one who will earn that label and then embrace it…because this whole country was made by greater fools.
Article by Remington Ramsey, Real Producers National Sales Director