Keenan's post today -- 'Why do people hate Horatio Alger and Ben Carson? -- was entertaining, interesting and, most importantly, served as a real thought provoker for me.
As such it caused me to reflect seriously about several 'famous and successful' people that I've known over a long lifetime and their very normal human traits, personalities and motivations.
And the unserious political circus that we're suffering through these days, coupled with the candidacy of the serious and successful private sector and non-politician Doctor Ben Carson, has caused me to reflect on the profound differences between presidential candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. So here's what I think about all this.
Trump -- Donald Trump is a buffoon, circus clown and a divisive fool. He plays the part of 'Richie Rich' to the hilt. Unfortunately, too many of our fellow Americans may believe that he is a fair representation of successful business leaders. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
Clinton - Hillary Clinton is a phony politician who plays the (1) race, (2) gender and (3) economic class or status cards to the hilt. She is an insincere fool who believes very much in the Jonathan Gruber approach to politics ---- that We the People are stupid and that a fool is born every minute. Let's hope she's wrong about that.
Carson -- Doctor Ben Carson is the real deal. Years ago the then non-politician and eminently successful brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore agreed to come to Augusta, Georgia and to speak to the kids and adults at the local Boys and Girls Club annual Steak & Burger dinner. His 'fee' consisted solely of being provided transportation to and from Augusta. He was an absolute hit, and his life story is both aspirational and inspirational.
Ben Carson's story is the American success story --- or as Keenan puts it in his post today --- the Horatio Alger story. Carson believes (as does former NBA player and slam dunk champion 5'7" Spud Webb), that if you can dream it, you can do it.
Doctor Carson is living proof that the formula for success is a simple three-part one --- (1) show up and act right, (2) spend lots of time on task, aka practicing, and (3) internalize the habit of improvement, aka getting better continuously.
By coming to Augusta those many years ago, he was also 'paying it forward' and discharging his self assigned responsibility to encourage youngsters to share his belief that we can fulfill our dreams. All that's required is an unyielding belief in our potential capabilities and that by working hard, we can live out our dreams. With Ben Carson, the success story involving dreams, hard work, sacrifice and self reliance is real.
And Doctor Carson also teaches that the 'Pygmalion Effect' is vitally important for parents, friends, teachers, coaches and other role models to help our youngsters succeed. In simple language, the Pygmalion Effect means that the greater the expectations we place on other people, the better they will perform. In other words, we tend to fulfill the expectations (up or down) that others have for us. See Rediscovering the 'Pygmalion Effect.'
Accordingly, continuing encouragement by our role models and others in the face of adversity, combined with hard work and a belief in ourselves and our capabilities, are the simple and not-so-secret ingredients of success.
Ben Carson believes that we can be whatever we want to be. And that if we are willing to work hard to overcome all those seemingly impossible obstacles to the fulfillment of our dreams, we will reach them. So do I.
English poet Robert Browning long ago perhaps summed it up best, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
I've been fortunate to know the life stories of many people like Ben Carson, including CEOs, coaches, athletes and even a few actors.
None of them has ever behaved like the jerk Donald Trump. He is really full of himself and for no good reason.
Neither have they played the race, gender or economic class cards that Hillary Clinton likes to play. She's also full of herself, and like Donald Trump, it's for no good reason.
Like Ben Carson, many successful people have overcome great adversity to enjoy great success in life.
And they have tried to 'pay it forward' by telling their stories and helping youngsters to understand that success really does come from hard work and a belief that 'if we can dream it, we can do it.'
And during the inevitable hard times, a few timely and often repeated words of encouragement and support from a valued and respected teacher, coach or influential other will help immensely.
Finally, a little good old fashioned luck never hurts.
That's my take.