Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The achievement spectrum

I spent a very enjoyable evening in Oxford yesterday listening to a lecture by Col Chris Hadfield, the retired Canadian astronaut who commanded the ISS and is famous for playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on guitar in zero G a YouTube clip with around 29 million views. In his talk he told stories about his journey to becoming an astronaut and what it actually feels like to experience a shuttle launch; he also showed us some of the many photographs he took from the ISS and yes, he played that song too. I took my son with me in the hope that some of the "right stuff" might rub off; who knows if any of it stuck and of course I do realise that teenage boys are pre-programmed by evolution to react negatively to anything that might seem desirable to their fathers. Hadfield is clearly one of those people to whom outstanding achievement is the norm, he seems to have pretty much excelled at everything he's ever tried, sportsman, fighter pilot, test pilot, astronaut, social media star, philanthropist, author and musician no doubt he's a really nice guy too, an over-achiever you might conclude. My Son summed things up nicely at the end of the show on the train home by remarking that he was really glad Hadfield wasn't his dad! (I think I have more work to do)

At the other end of the achievement spectrum I read that "Jehovah Wanyonyi" self proclaimed "immortal god and father of Jesus Christ" has died of malaria in Kenya. Apparently he spent his days in a hut administering to his 70 wives in a red robe (because red is God's colour obviously) and waiting for people to bring him gifts and tributes - sounds like he cracked the religion game reasonably well, but immortality? Not so much.

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