“Too Stupid To Fail….”

February 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm (Life in General, Sales and Business)

Now you may think that’s a mis-print…? Surely its “Too Bright To Fail” ?

Not in my line of thinking 🙂

But then again, we are often raised to believe that only the most intelligent of people become top achievers. This is so largely build around, as our impressions have it, a high academic qualification….

I beg to differ…

Let me take you back to Somerset West, Cape Town about 20 years ago. Sheesh, that sounds like a long time ago – and I still consider myself young!

The incident that I am talking about centered around two very interesting characters. One of which being a new puppy that the Harrison family had bought or been given.. I forget which. But the thing was, like most kids, we love our dogs and puppies were even more special.

This puppy that we had newly acquired was something of a cross between a Ridgeback and a Mastiff, if memory serves correctly.  The fact of the matter was that it was a big puppy. She had the big paws that always symbolises that the puppy will grow to be of significant presence. She was also a bit, for lack of a better term, “Dopey”

The second “interesting character” was indeed an “interesting character” . He was, at the time, a work colleague of my fathers. He was, and no doubt to this day, still is “One of a kind”. This man, who’s first name is Julian was more affectionately known as “The Ferret”. Where that name came from exactly, we will never know but on inspection, he always seemed to be up to something. He always had some deal on the go.

I believe that he had ridden with a motorcycle gang, been involved with stock-car and powerboat racing and also served in the South African Police Force in the late 70’s, early 80’s.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with what the SAP was like at the time, it was no walk in the park and very inclined to leave someone with memories that stay with you for the rest of your life …. and not always in a good way. Enough said. If I recall correctly, at the time, he ran the workshop at the same company that my father worked at.

The Ferret was also a man who could handle his Brandy and Coke. For all of you familiar with SA and the drinking culture out there… again, enough said. He was a bit of a legend.

Now, how the two of these “interesting characters” came together is that this puppy that we had was seemingly brought up in a very comfy environment. She did like to be inside the house. This clashed a bit with the “No dogs in the house” regime that the Harrison family had. The puppy didn’t comply with that.

I had taken the puppy outside the back door, put her on the ground, told her to stay and walked backwards slowly to ensure that she didn’t follow me. I got back inside the house and closed the door so there was no way in for her…. Or that, at least, was what I thought….

Dogs weren’t the only animal the Harrison’s had at the time. We also had a couple of cats. As we had cats, we had a cat flap on the back door. A cat flap that was only big enough for the puppy to get her head through.

Now, as I securely closed the back door of the kitchen to keep the puppy out, the Ferret entered with an empty log glass in his hand and bellowed the words “Paul… Pour!!” which was normally the prelude to a heavily poured Brandy with a splash of Coke (I enjoyed Coke and therefore I figured that the less poured for the Ferret, the more I could enjoy myself!!)

As The Ferret grabbed the bottle of Klipdrift Brandy and started to pour a “Three fingers measure”, the puppy put her head through the cat flap and gave me one of those “puppy dog looks”. I wasn’t having it though and shouted “out”. 

In an act of total defiance, she continued to push her way through the cat flap! First she wriggled her one shoulder through, then her other shoulder. Then she stretched her back, sucked in her stomach and dragged herself further though the cat flap…

I looked at the Ferret who now had at least 5 fingers of Brandy in his tall glass and he was also watching the pup pulling herself through the cat flat. There was a look of pure amazement on his face too (and that’s saying a lot, considering what he has seen before!)

As she wriggled her first hip and popped it through the cat flap and then her second one and actually got her entire body through the cat-flap… I was stunned!! I looked at the Ferret and he was now shaking his head in disbelief. As he put in two blocks of ice , he said to me “That blerrie dog is too stupid to know when its beaten“. I had to agree!

This provided me with a unique insight. If that puppy was not intelligent enough to know that it was not supposed to be able to get through the cat flap, perhaps this is true in life and in business too.

I have seen people who are seemingly very intelligent and have the qualifications to prove it, psych themselves out and believe that something is impossible to do. Once they believe that its impossible, they don’t try – or they try half-heartedly and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because they don’t achieve the desired outcome. But then I have seen people who don’t know, or  don’t acknowledge their limitations. They believe that they are capable of whatever they want to do and they keep trying and trying and trying until they find a way to do it.

I guess that imagination, persistance and a blatant disregard for the impossible, will quite often get the outcomes and results that huge intellect won’t.

Have a blatant disregard for the impossible!! 😉 Quite often, its only impossible for “other people”.

Feel Free to leave a comment.



  1. samantha Lawton said,

    I love this post Paul.

    If you can percieve it you can achieve it – simple as that – I think your dog must have been reading psycho-cybernetics!

    Sam x

    • urbanjunglesurvival said,

      Ha!! Quite possibly Sam. I re-read that book recently and you know that it is one of the most promoted books in US jails? Interesting huh?

  2. Cindy said,

    An interesting and true story Paul, I do remember the Ferret but alas not the dog, I wasn’t around at the the time.

    • Paul said,

      Ha!! Cindy, the Ferret is an Institution. The “Man-legend”….

  3. Dad said,

    Did you ever think that perhaps the pup had a potential penchant for the Klippies and Coke? This could be based on the fact that if the Ferret, which we know is a hairy little creature, enjoys it to that extent, a pedigree pooch might also like to make it’s coat shine!!

  4. Sonia said,

    You have such a wonderful talent for writing! What an awesome post, beautifully written and inspiring as always. Also, must add that urbanjunglesurvival.wordpress.com is looking awesome! Very very smart, love the new colours design just the whole look! Well done Paul.

    • Paul said,

      Thanks Sonia 🙂 The truth is though that all credit must go to your awesome Man. He was the one who convinced me this was the thing to do 🙂

      Lots of love to the Da SIlva family.

  5. Andy Papa said,

    Mindblowing stuff Pauli. Its amazing what we are left with in life when we start to reminisce. There are lessons out there for all of us to learn, in fact they are happening in our lives everyday. Most of us choose to laugh them off or even not recognise them, but the very few such as yourself Pauli who is able to harness those lessons and spread the word to others is truly a gift. Well done, your words are like golddust bro.



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