Reading Ted Turner’s book I became acutely aware of something about my own life. I’m dumb.
I kid myself by telling myself I’m not or that I have “different talents”, but the truth of the matter is that I pretty much lack the genes necessary to be contributing member of society. Sure, I have beautiful children and I’m employed and I love my wife and I go to church, all those virtues it takes to be a productive member of society. But I lack the ability to be a contributing one.
I go through life with a major conflict on my shoulders. Do I not excel at certain things because I don’t try hard enough or because I lack the ability to do so? My core philosophy has always been that as long as I am aware of a problem/need/responsibility/dream then that makes it a “to-do”. “I know I’m out of shape, so it’s on me and me ONLY to do it”. “I know the lawn needs to be mowed, so it’s on me and me ONLY to do it.” “I know I’d really like to start a business, so it’s on me and me ONLY to do it.” “I know I’d like to write a book, so it’s on me and me ONLY to do it.” Etc.
Our culture, heck the human race, thrives on stories of the little guy who gave something their all and came out a winner, whether it be in sports, or business, or education or American Idol. It’s what fuels the spirit that our existence is based on.
So, again, my conflict becomes: what if I show no ability to start my own business or get a PHD or play pro baseball, would trying harder fix that? For instance, I was no better at math or science the day I graduated from college, than when I entered high school. I studied, I passed classes (barely), I even had tutors occasionally, but the information never stuck. Whose fault is that?
Now, back to Turner. The man is amazing. He’s brilliant. He’s savvy. He’s visionary. He went from taking over his father’s billboard business to becoming one of the richest, most innovative, most influential people the world has ever seen. I’m humbled, I’m awed, I’m jealous, and I’m frustrated. Could anyone be a Ted Turner, or do his unique talents, circumstances, vision, and luck make him the only one qualified to wear those shoes? Believing that you can is what gets most people up in the morning, especially in a capitalistic society. I, however, have no business acumen to speak of. I don’t understand stocks or venture funding or equity or any other buzz word associated with entrepreneurialism. Like math and science, I have a feeling a lot of instruction would only accomplish retaining some of the information and for only short periods of time. So, instead, I go through life wondering “what if”. Take a piano prodigy. Does he find the piano, or does the piano find him? In other words, could anyone be a prodigy if the correct vessel was placed before them?
Bottom line: read the book. It’s fascinating and quick. My only beef is that Ted’s personality doesn’t leap off the page like it does in person. Luckily, he has friends, cohorts, and family write sections throughout the book that provides an anecdote that shines better light on the man.
Life would be easier if I didn’t see someone like Ted Turner as a goal or ideal. If I let them be them and me be me. But, that wouldn’t work because all I want to do is watch TV and eat pizza. So, where do I channel my motivation? My shoulders are collapsing!