Comedian and late-night talk show host David Letterman is known for his irreverent sense of humor and cynical, mocking style. David Letterman’s big break came when he began appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was eventually offered his own late-night show. His humor was well suited to the late-late hour, and the show became widely popular. When NBC gave Carson’s spot to Jay Leno, Letterman moved to CBS to host Late Show.
In 2007, he was ranked as No. 17 on the Forbes list of richest men in the entertainment industry, making an estimated $40 million that year. In 2009, Forbes also listed Letterman as No. 14 on their list of most powerful personalities in entertainment.
Here are the 6 Success lessons from David Letterman – “The Late Show” for entrepreneurs,
Over the course of 6,028 shows and interviews with some 19,932 guests, Letterman never once made it about “David Letterman.” In fact, the most enduring and endearing characteristic was an unending swarm of self-deprecation.
Whether for the show itself, or Letterman’s self-described foibles and idiosyncrasies, the predominant portion of guests were put at ease by your goof-ball, aw shucks, I’m an idiot demeanor. This sort of behaviour puts people at ease.
2. When you make mistakes, own them
While the scandal disappointed many, the way Letterman handled the aftermath was brilliant. He was being extorted and instead of allowing others to profit off his mistakes, he took the situation public. He took personal responsibility for his actions and made amends. We all make mistakes. When we do, we would do well to follow the example of Letterman.
3. Appreciate who you are
While Letterman was fiercely competitive, a time came in his battle with Jay Leno in which Letterman realized he was not going to win the ratings war. Instead of getting desperate or changing his identity, Letterman simply accepted his role as number two and enjoyed his opportunity. It’s easy for all of us to desire more. We want to be the best salesperson or have our children be the top of their class, but we can’t win everything. Instead of regretting what we can’t accomplish, we should appreciate the opportunities we have.
4. Never forget where you came from
Everyone knows David Letterman is from Indiana. While he has lived in the greater New York area for decades, he is an Indiana boy. He never overlooks an opportunity to remind people where he is from, brag about his home state, or use his resources to assist those at home. It would be easy to move to New York and forget small-town Indiana but Letterman has not.
5. When you think life is over, it has sometimes just begun
This seems to be a lesson Letterman learned after his heart-attack. Letterman nearly died several years ago after a heart condition created the need for major surgery. He has spoken at length that he feared he would never work again. Not only did he come back from that experience, but it seemed to greatly influence him for the good. Since his heart surgery, Letterman seems happier with himself, others, and life.
Letterman ran a comedy show. That didn’t stop him from being sincere. He presented flowers for Julia Roberts and other guests. He showed deep concern for peace when discussing political and worldly issues with former or current presidents and elected officials. After 9/11 — arguably Letterman’s sincerest shows ever — he were the capstone of emotional unity.