Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What is Success?...and on How to be a Great Human Being

BBC Radio Four's "Thought for the Day" is a great favourite piece of radio of mine from my days in Belgium. A truly inspiration three-four minute segment in the "Today" programme on BBC Radio Four that profoundly puts to shame the length and breadth of our morning radio shows in its quality and diversity, and GREAT interviewing.

Am busy writing an article closely connected to the launch of the UNCTAD report last week that claimed regional integration is great for developing countries, and which I claim I will deliver on Thursday, so blogging is in the back-burner: [David, thanks for your ocncern!!]

Enjoy this piece on success, and how "Our maturity as human beings depends on our capacity to be at ease with ourselves." (from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/documents/t20090707.shtml


Thought for the Day, 7 July 2009



The Rev. Rosemary Lain-Priestley




'Federer takes place in history', 'Roger Federer is the greatest' - the headlines were as epic as the match itself. My favourite few lines of commentary were from the sportswriter at The Times: '(In the past Federer) has created such visions of loveliness that we got all fanciful and called it Art. On Sunday he won by the brilliantly simple tactic of Not Losing'.

Success, it seems, is about talent, flair and focus - and when you're up against the wall, just refusing, ever, to give in.

Reading all this I've been reminded of something I heard recently about the latest parenting technique. The idea is that people should deliberately encourage their children to do things that they are not very good at. Because otherwise, the theory goes, they will grow up with an aversion to doing anything at which they will not shine. They might excel at music, sport, art or science - but they will have lost the ability to have a go at something just because it's fun. And they will measure their own worth solely through the certificates and trophies that grace their walls. They might look like highly successful people but their fear of failure will have denied them many other things life has to offer.

Jesus told a parable about talents which suggests that God does not suffer gladly those who squander the potential of their resources and gifts. If we have a talent we should use it, to the glory of God and humanity. There is another Biblical strand, however, that tells us we are valued and honoured and loved for everything that we are - our weaknesses as well as our strengths, our comic failures as well as our moments of achievement. From Moses who feared his own inability to string a sentence together, to St Peter who failed to reach his own standards, the scriptures are peppered with people who are celebrated as much for their ability to have a go as their questionably heroic status.

Our maturity as human beings depends as much on our capacity to chill and be at ease with ourselves as it does on our ability to win trophies. And maybe this is a truth that even in the heat of the moment with his fifteenth Grand Slam triumph in sight Roger Federer could appreciate. We now know that as the score reached 12 all in the final game he was feeling bad about the pressure through which he was putting his pregnant wife. Asked yesterday: 'What will you do this week to relax?' he spoke about this very exciting time in his life at home and said that he's going to put the tennis racket in the cupboard and support his wife as much as he can. Being a great human being is as much to do with the habit of luxuriating in all of life's gifts, as it is to do with winning.

copyright 2009 BBC

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