[Cuba and the 3 B's]
I've just arrived in Cuba and clearing my emails before going to sleep. A great relief that they have broadband here. It is 12 hours time difference.
My elder brother Jim once told me that, to succeed in life, one needs the 3 B's. What are the 3 B's? They are Brains, Balls and Breaks.
Brains - well, it always helps if one is smart, alert and able to spot trends. One also needs a sense of social situations. We need both IQ and EQ.
Then you need Balls. Guts, the courage to take calculated risks and persistence. Balls without brains is dangerous. Brains without balls doesn't get you very far. The person who is passionate is more likely to succeed.
But the most important things in life are often not within our control. Who our parents are, which genes we inherit from them, the country and times we are born in - all this is not for us to decide. Life is never smooth. Suddenly we can come down with an illness or meet an accident. When you have a family, it is not only yourself but also your spouse and children whom you worry about everyday. Breaks means all that. Some see it as luck; others as divine providence. Academic qualifications help. Napoleon said that the most important thing is to choose a lucky general. When Liu Bei persuaded Zhu Geliang to help him, his response was that the times were out of joint and there was little one could do about it.
No one likes exams. Well the Chinese invented it. Mao abolished exams during the Cultural Revolution. The result was a wasted generation. But exams are not everything. You still need the 3 B's.