The Tao of Questy

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The Tao of Questy is about love and laughter and being human. It's about sharing ideas and being a little bit crazy in order to stay sane.
Updated: 8 hours 6 min ago

Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth then again maybe it was Albert Einstein

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 00:08

As someone who writes a lot about great inventors and forgotten geeks I get endless questions asking to compare Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.

Recently I have been asked to answer questions comparing Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein to Nikola Tesla.

There is an obsession with "who was smarter" questions, and comparing one successful person to another. The problem with these compare person x to person y questions is that they often ask to compare two totally different people. Do we really need to keep score?

This material in this blog post has been rolling around in my brain for a few weeks. With a few additional questions added to my list, the time has come to address fascination with comparing people.

There is a fascination with comparing people with Einstein. As I amused myself reading some recent questions, I wondered how silly can it get, will people start comparing Albert Einstein to Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth?

To those of you who only vaguely know their names, let us take a brief look at the careers of sports legends Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth.

Wayne Gretzky played in the National Hockey League from 1978 through 1999. During his career as a hockey player he dominated the sport, he was the NHL's season points leader 10 times and named the NHL most valuable player award nine times.

George Herman "Babe" Ruth was an professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons from 1914 through 1935. Ruth lead the league in home runs in twelve seasons. At the time of his retirement Babe Ruth held dozens of MLB records.

In sports there are various statistics kept to evaluate the performance of a player. Statistically Babe Ruth was the greatest Major League Baseball player of his generation. Statistically Wayne Gretzky was the greatest National Hockey League player of his generation.

They were very successful in their professional lives, but the sports they played required very different skills. How can we compare Wayne Gretzky to Babe Ruth?

Now let us compare Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth to Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein was the most influential physicist of the 20th century, Babe Ruth was the most influential Major League Baseball player of the 20th century, so I should be able to compare them?

Have I gone crazy? This is all sounding absurd, but is it any more absurd than the endless questions of comparison?

I have no idea what the IQ was of any of the successful people I have studied over the years, nor do I care. Some of the most successful people have been looked at as being stupid when they were growing up. On a personal level, some of the "smartest" people I have known were not very successful. They might have been considered a genius on an IQ test, but they never achieved much in life.

The success of famous people has a lot to do with making the most of their opportunities and being a master of their time and circumstances How do you compare complex individuals living in different times working in similar but different professions. I have studied many successful people over the years, in business and technology. A common theme in all successful people is a strong passion for their area of interest. Many had an compulsion, perhaps you could call it an obsession, for success.

It is often said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Many successful people operated on that fine line.

Who is the greatest? Who was the smartest? Who was the funniest? Wayne Gretzky or Babe Ruth then again maybe it was Albert Einstein?

Why does it matter?


In sports and politics sore losers dominate the news

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 14:28

I try to live by a simple motto: when evaluating your outcomes, look for reasons to succeed, not excuses to fail.

As part of my inspiration to write this blog post, I just updated one of my websites by restoring a story on Thomas Edison and the mythical quote on his 10,000 failures to invent the electric light bulb. You'll find the link to that story at the end of this blog post, and you can read about Thomas Edison as one of the best examples of a successful state of mind

I have stayed away from social media more than usual lately because of all the negativity. The news have been dominated in recent days about people wishing for the failure of the incoming presidential administration.  The world seems to be super charged with negativity. All the "not my president" memes and cartoons are getting way out of hand.

For all the years I have been eligible to vote, going back to the days of Gerald Ford, more often than not, the person who I thought was the best candidate to become president never made it out of the primaries. Along the way I have voted for many losing candidates in the general election. For all my discomfort and frustration, I have always accepted the results of the election, and supported the president in respect for our country. When a candidate I dislike has won, I have asked myself, and others, is there something I could have done to change things?

In the world of the Tao of Questy, the goal is not to take sides in an "us versus them" argument, but to stretch your brain to see things in a different perspective.  To all the sore losers in politics, stop and think about this, when you lose, don’t lose the lesson. On social media I don't see many people asking the question, "Is there something I could have done to change things?"  But I do see a lot of people looking for ways for the new president to fail, hoping he will fail.  So much for good sportsmanship.

Turning to sports

I enjoy sports. I hope it would be a good escape from all the political rhetoric. But today the big story on the sports talk shows is the ranting by Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce who spent his entire postgame media session ripping the referee and the rest of his crew. Worse than the crazy rant by Travis Kelce is the fact that the sports shows keep showing it, and keep talking about it. 

I watched the game. Like most close games there are many things that could have been called that were missed. Yes, it was the heat of the moment, and yes, he was emotional. But this was the same Travis Kelce that was penalized during the game for shoving a player to the ground out of frustration. Another negative example in sportsmanship, and another reason to illustrate why athletes shouldn't be our heroes.

The Dallas Cowboys lost a close game on Sunday. I am not a Cowboys fan, but I was impressed by their interviews after the game.  There was a lot of talk about what they achieved, and how they looked forward to next year. Comparing the two scenarios, it sure gives meaning to the thought that winners have reasons, losers have excuses.

The real heroes in our world

If you are looking for the real heroes in our world you need to read about The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission. Created in 1904 by Andrew Carnegie, the commission awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals who risk their lives saving or attempting to save others.

I recently saw a CBS News Sunday Morning segment cover the Carnegie Hero Fund. There are some pretty amazing stories, like the 19-year-old mother of two in Auburn, Illinois, who saved a 75-year-old man who had gotten his wheel chair stuck on the train tracks.

Check out the CBS News Sunday Morning segment, Carnegie Heroes: A definition of selfless humanity.

Check out the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

Take time to reflect

It's pretty sad that in recent days in sports and politics that sore losers dominate the news. To all the folks in politics who proudly proclaim "not my president" and all the sports stars and fans that blame the loss on the officials, take a moment to step back and reflect.

Winning is not the magnitude of the outcome, it is the perspective of the outcome. Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.

Winners have reasons, losers have excuses.


Need some inspiration to succeed? Read about Thomas Edison and why some people never fail