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Ambition

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franticllama
1315215.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:10 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Do you think that not fulfilling your potential is succeeding then?


Not fulfilling your potential is not the same as failing.
Someone could have had the potential to be a damn good cyclist* but they decided that they really didn't fancy putting in all the work required to become the best in the world. Instead they cycle for fun on the weekends with a group of friends. Just because our fictitious person won a load of awards when he was younger and was tipped to be the next big thing in cycling, doesn't mean he failed when he decided that he preferred sitting at home watching TV to being in the gym.

Some might argue that it takes more guts to try. To put all your time and effort into being a brilliant cyclist. Giving up your social life to ensure you're in peak physical condition. Being out on the bike in all weather and still failing to make the cut for the team you were aspiring to. I think failure looks a bit more like this scenario than the guy who stayed comfy on the couch. Doesn't make either of them right or wrong, just different choices and priorities.

Typing all this out has really made me consider the question, what does failure look like? Guess it depends on who you're asking.

*Taken at random. Swap in your preferred random profession.

 
barbados
1315216.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:11 pm Reply with quote

Which is exactly what suze was saying, and you were suggesting it was irresponsible.

 
franticllama
1315220.  Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:45 pm Reply with quote

Erm, not me guv

 
Alfred E Neuman
1315225.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:38 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Do you think that not fulfilling your potential is succeeding then?

I think being satisfied with your life is succeeding. Itís got absolutely nothing to do with anyone else, itís your own call whether your life was a success or not.

Bringing up the concept of potential adds a dimension. Itís common enough that ones physical (or intellectual) talent and phycological profile arenít 100% compatible. To continue with llamaís example, just because someone has the potential physically to be the next world champion cyclist, does not mean that he has the mental makeup that is required. Likewise some people break through to levels that their skill set seem to imply was beyond them by sheer determination and hard work.

To determine someoneís potential is actually extremely complex and Iíd say that itís pretty much guesswork. Any one chink in someoneís armour could make a difference to where they end up. The existence of the chink shifts their potential, so did they fail or did they just settle at their natural level?

 
Dix
1315228.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:43 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
barbados wrote:
So because you failed at your aspirations we shouldn't encourage others to aim for their full potential.


No, I didn't say that.

If you're just going to put words in my mouth then there's no point in continuing this discussion.

It really pisses me off when I take the time to put together a detailed, thoughful response to what other posters have said, and someone comes along and attacks me on the basis of a load of nonsense that I didn't write.


For once, I find myself in complete agreement with you, Guy. Putting words in other's mouth is not good practice in a discussion.

May I point you to a series of posts in the original thread that you have not included in this thread:
post 1315024
GuyBarry wrote:
Fine. It still remains the case, though, that hardly anyone is going to end up going to Mars.

Suze clearly thinks
that her role as a teacher is to set her pupils up with unrealizable fantasies. She might as well set them up to think they're going to win the Lottery, because they've probably got more chance.

To which I replied (
post 1315030)
Dix wrote:
To me, suze's statement is a commitment to not limit her pupils' ambitions by swatting them before they have had any chance of being tested by reality.
The precise ambition need not be Prime Minister or astronaut but perhaps something as simple as getting qualificactions for a better job than your parents had the chance of getting - being a vet, teacher, scientist, artist, or a pretty darn good carpenter.

I believe we should leave it to Suze to express what she thinks.

And Suze replied post 1315031)
suze wrote:
Absolutely. I don't think Guy is deliberately misunderstanding, but he is misunderstanding all the same.

In reality, there aren't all that many people who even want to fly to Mars. If PDR knows the date that people he has met have in mind he's certainly not at liberty to tell us, but I'm sure it's within a timeframe that makes it a feasible aspiration for someone who leaves high school this summer.

I've never actually met anyone who has that as her career goal, but I absolutely have met people who want to save lives in the less developed world as a doctor, fight injustices as a lawyer, save lives in Kent as a firefighter, make ten million pounds in the City and retire when they're 40, and all sorts of other things. By now, I've been in the job long enough that I've heard of young women that I taught who have been through university and are well on their way to achieving whatever it is.

Some schools will tell a girl who states one of these things as her aspiration "That's not for people from round here, maybe think more about working at the cat food factory" - and they shouldn't be doing. Worse, some schools may tell her "Girls don't do that, maybe think about becoming a hairdresser".

If anyone does that in my hearing, he will get a rocket up his arse. It might have been defensible in 1959, but in 2019 it really really isn't. And yes, it upsets me if school-aged girls in 2019 are thinking like that, and simply because no one has ever told them that they shouldn't be.


In case I need to make myself clear I shall do so straight away:
It is my opinion that for a decent, sensible discussion all participants should seek to understand what the other person is trying to express. And bear in mind that sometimes hyperpole is used or the post can be read in a different way from what was intended.
Arguing about an opinion that you think someone holds leads to nowhere. The thing to do is to start with something like "you wrote xxx, I think it means yyy, could you please clarify" before you start attacking the yyy position.
Otherwise you end up discussing with yourself.

And that goes for everyone here.

It is my opinion that no-one here has argued for deliberately setting up completely unrealistic ambitions for young people.

And thank you from removing this from the Sexism thread.

 
Awitt
1315229.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:56 am Reply with quote

I thought this discussion started as a result of what girls are now able to do that they couldn't, 50 years ago.

I went to a private girls' school, graduating 25 years ago (I can't believe that!) and we were encouraged to do all sorts of things. Regular guest speakers for assemblies and other events were arranged, being 'Old Girls' where possible.
Two such 'old girls' are Olympic aerial skiers Kirstie Marshall, who then became elected to state Parliament, and Jacqui Cooper.

I've just seen an item on my Australian city's news about a 9 year old girl who flew with one of our budget airlines and gave cabin crew a handwritten note about could girls become pilots?

This weekend, arranged by the airline, she had a session in the flight simulator, being guided by a female senior pilot.

I'm also lucky to have strong examples from within my own family, on mum's side of women able to work.
One of my great gran's was a piano teacher, working from home. Her daughter, my grandmother, returned to work in a shop when my mother was 11, in the 1950's.
My other great gran lost her husband when my grandfather was a teenager.

Two aunts were secretaries though one felt curtailed about that being one of the few jobs women of her generation could do - her father didn't believe in the eldest daughter working, it was her job to look after her parents. He also thought women shouldn't drive. and having to resign if she married, but her fiance was killed in WWII.

 
PDR
1315235.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:27 am Reply with quote

Can we have a LIKE button please?

Dix has it nailed - more than anything else my failure to grasp this was why I had to be excluded to reflect on my behaviour.

On the actual subject:

When I was at school I had two primary ambitions - one was to be a fast-jet pilot and the other was to be Dave Gilmour. I had to abandon the second quite early on because the job was already taken* and I had to abandon the first after passing RAF officer selection tests and then finding that they didn't take aircrew with hayfever. I was deeply scarred by that - for nearly a whole week.

Then I realised that what REALLY interested me was designing aeroplanes - by then I had my PPL so I could fly when I wanted to, but designing them sounded MUCH more challenging. So I did an engineering degree, and while doing that I discovered that what really interested me was designing STUFF (not just aeroplanes).

So I messed about with cars and engines, and when I graduated my first job was actually as a trials engineer in sonar, combining engineering with diving (another interest I'd picked up at Uni). Trials engineering was an interesting area because it involved using theoretical engineering abilities to address and solve practical, hands-on and urgent technical problems - I suspect the role of Race Engineer in an F1 team is similar (at least I get that impression from Newey's book).

While doing this I realised that it wasn't "designing stuff" as such that interested me - it was apply an engineering approach and tools to solve real world problems that interested me. So my next job was developing statistical process control techniques and tools reduce variance in volume manufacturing, thereby reducing costs and increasing profits. And it was only after THAT when (due to a lucky accident of redundancy) that I finally ended up taking a job in the aviation industry where I have remained for the 29 years since then.

My schools were state schools - a state primary. a state middle school and a state secondary school. OK, we're talking about north-west surrey which is a long way from the median for state schools and so my view of state schools is probably skewed by that. But all through my school years the ETHOS was to reach for the moon, and then on the way you will find what really interests you. But to never EVER think of what you were doing as "failing" unless you actually KNOW that the reason you didn't get to the moon was your own laziness.

I still "teach" this today when I mentor aspiring engineers who have nice shiny degrees on the 2-3 year path to becoming useful engineers, and the 5-10 year path to becoming professional engineers. Failures are actually good - you learn far more from failures than you do from successes**. But whatever it is you don't just give up - you learn and move on to the next thing.

When we are at school we really shouldn't try to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives, not in detail at any rate. There will be a few exceptions, of course, but for most people as kids they simply can't know enough about the available opportunities and choices. So it is essential to instil an attitude to reach for what you want, to work for it and take control of your own destiny. But also to keep looking and see if that changes your aspirations along the way.

Ä0.00006 supplied,

PDR

* at least that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it
** indeed I could view my whole career as one long learning experience :0)

 
Alfred E Neuman
1315236.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:07 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
But to never EVER think of what you were doing as "failing" unless you actually KNOW that the reason you didn't get to the moon was your own laziness.

It could be argued that laziness is a personality trait, and in the same way that someone who has less talent but is driven gets further, someone who isnít interested in extra effort is not going to go as far. Their potential for performing is lower, even if they have the skills to perform.

If youíre lazy and/or lack ambition but are content where you are is that failure?

 
barbados
1315237.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:13 am Reply with quote

In the example give yes it is.

 
PDR
1315242.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:12 am Reply with quote

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
PDR wrote:
But to never EVER think of what you were doing as "failing" unless you actually KNOW that the reason you didn't get to the moon was your own laziness.

It could be argued that laziness is a personality trait, and in the same way that someone who has less talent but is driven gets further, someone who isnít interested in extra effort is not going to go as far. Their potential for performing is lower, even if they have the skills to perform.

If youíre lazy and/or lack ambition but are content where you are is that failure?


I get what you mean, but I probably put it badly. I guess what I mean is:

"...to never EVER think of what you were doing as "failing" unless you actually KNOW that the reason you didn't get to the moon was just that you didn't try hard enough."

And even in this definition I guess it should be qualified a bit because there are things you might like to do but don't because you don't want them badly enough to warrant the amount of effort they would require. But then that would be a "success", because you have successfully avoided expending effort on something that wasn't worth it.

But on the laziness thing - Ross Brawn says in his book that he knows he is an inherently lazy person, so to achieve his goals he creates structure [organisation and programme] which minimises the opportunities for the laziness to take control!

As a child and young teenager I was painfully shy - to the point where I struggle to talk to anyone (especially girls). I was sent to what I guess we'd now call a "counsellor" and she gave me a strategy to counter it - using my courage to counter my shyness. She suggested that I "dare" myself into talking to people - in a bus queue, in a lift, in any random situation. Two months later I was on my first date [and that's all I have to say about that]. Of course I've now rather over-compensated for the shyness and need to reign it back... :0)

But my point is that my personality trait (shyness) was an obstacle to my goal (girlfriends) and I decided I needed to find a way to balance the two.

PDR

 
barbados
1315248.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:26 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
But on the laziness thing - Ross Brawn says in his book that he knows he is an inherently lazy person, so to achieve his goals he creates structure [organisation and programme] which minimises the opportunities for the laziness to take control!


Bill Gates has been attributed to something kind of similar, where he looks for the laziest person when developing a system because they will find the most efficient way to do it.
FWIW, I think I agree with you Pete, being lazy isn't a failing, but not getting to where you want because of laziness is.

 
PDR
1315250.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:33 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
FWIW, I think I agree with you Pete


You see - anything can be achieved, no matter how unlikely it seems at first glance, as long as you try...

:0)

PDR

 
barbados
1315251.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:37 am Reply with quote

It's all down to want something badly enough, and working hard at getting the desired results..
;p

 
PDR
1315253.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:47 am Reply with quote

Having said all that...

The last time we were talking about this topic was in the context of whether it was reasonable to restrict job applications to high-scoring graduates. I described my employer's policy of only recruiting engineering grads from specific universities with high-graded degrees. WHile I still see the benefits in terms of showing objective criteria to avoid accusations of discrimination, that whole conversation started a line of thought which saw me championing a change to this policy as a "diversity" thing - looking to gain competitive/commercial benefit from having a more diverse mix of engineers rather than just the academic high-flyers.

I might now be coming home to roost* - I may be about to take on a role (50% of my time) formally pushing this line across the global organisation, from early career and STEM promotion in schools through mid-career development to senior leader selection.

Such is the power of the QI Continuum...

:0)

PDR

* the funding proposal is on the ED's desk for final approval - should hear in a few weeks

 
PDR
1315254.  Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:48 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
It's all down to want something badly enough, and working hard at getting the desired results..
;p


:0)

PDR

 

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