I listen to The TED Radio Hour - RNZ National 7pm Sunday evenings. One of the joys of not having television.
Tonight the several segments were connected by the theme 'success'.
This programme, like many of them was really interesting.
The first segment was about 'True Grit' and the reason that intelligence and initial academic success isn't necessarily a pointer to later academic success and business accomplishment.
Listening to this I realised that I lack 'True Grit'.
I sailed through school at primary, intermediate and secondary level based on I guess my IQ. I never studied, worked hard or had any ambition other than the rather casual one of my family 'preferring' if I became a lawyer.
It was a bit of a mystery to me that fellow students I knew who were not so 'smart' as me and who were one or two classes below the so called elite class I was in, went on to gain university degrees, honours and masters.
The 'True Grit' segment on TED tonight explained that True Grit ' is not about intelligence but about having the ability to start a job or project with the drive and determination to finish it.
I recognised this failing in myself and everything kind of fell into place. I've had bosses who were basically pretty thick but the 'drive' got them to where (I think) they wanted to get.
The next segment on tonights TED, still under the 'success' them was about 'Dirty Jobs'.
These were the essential things that need to be done to keep society running and who is doing them.
It was interesting hearing about the plumbers, pig farmers and sewer workers who eschewed other careers to do what they liked doing but I objected to the overuse of the expression 'passion in their job' and that narrators obsession with wealth creation from doing 'dirty jobs'.
A good outtake though was in the measurement of success - in challenging sacred cows - is it important to be seen as being successful or is it better to be happy in what you do. I liked that.
The last segment was about work/life balance and the statement that it is impossible to be both a successful business person and a successful family person, That was challenging but I think that a lot of people need to analyse this closely.
Sorry TED followers who might read this as it isn't a review of the programme but merely some outtakes that I'm using to explain my lack of 'success' in conventional terms but that I'm basically happy in what I'm doing.
Yes I coasted at school. Because of this I failed at university (although I still maintain that the sopping up of culture and information in the many, many courses I did have made me rather rounded in my education). Nevertheless I managed to do reasonably well in my career. Not as well as if I had been 'driven' but well enough to have given us a comfortable lifestyle.
If I had 'True Grit' I could have risen to higher business positions, made a lot more money and have had greater stature in the industry that I have chosen to work in.
Instead I basically coasted in this industry as I did at school. This doesn't mean that I don't like the industry - in fact the opposite - I love it and have a kind of romantic connection with it.
The wealth I have in my life isn't acquisitions, big bank balance and status, it is in love and companionship with my partner and good friendships with people I've known and trusted for a long time.
This is success to me and reminds me of that great Alan Toussant song as sung by lovely Bonnie Raitt:
WHAT IS SUCCESS?