What is interesting about this is that the ‘lanky blonde girl’ did something more men than women are inclined to do – she took a risk. But then if you look again, she had nothing to lose, which is a different thing altogether. Whatever happened, she would come out a winner. To raise the bar in whatever we do may mean risking losing all that is important to us – credibility, status, respect, resources – and it has certainly happened in the past to innovators disparaged in their lifetimes and lauded after a glimpse through the lens of history. I’d like to think I’d have the courage (and the talent) to risk failing my MA but who does that? Would you?
Forgive the irony, but sometimes you’ve got to grab a cliché with both hands. In Brain Pickings Weekly recently, they summarised the findings of Daniel Goleman in his book The Hidden Driver of Excellence. In short, he concludes that, contrary to received wisdom, just practising a new skills for ten thousand hours isn’t enough to become a genius. It needs to be a deliberate attempt to improve, often concentrating on just one aspect at a time. (And to keep that open to feedback.) As Stanley Donen, director of Singing in the Rain has said, ‘Talent is passion in a narrow field.’
I was set to thinking about all this because of a passage in Tash Aw’s book Five Star Billionaire. One of the female characters is watching the Olympics on the TV. As the Chinese Athletes are winning all the medals, a ‘lanky blonde girl,’ has failed her first two…
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