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Monday, August 15, 2011

The Right Stuff

Unflappability in the face of life-threatening events; great physical stamina during exceptional stress and physical demands; a passion for challenges; a can-do let’s do it frame of mind; a love of competition; mental acuity; bravery; skill; a sense of humor—all these and more are portrayed as necessary attributes for test pilots and astronauts in the movie The Right Stuff.  Even though the right stuff was shown as essential, there remained ample room for individuality.  Could “the right stuff” be enumerated for each and every job that must be filled?  With the possible exception of unflappability in the face of life-threatening events, I think that the components of the right stuff for astronauts combine to form the right stuff for countless other jobs.  The tendency to underrate the demands of jobs is common.  Some of the lowest paying jobs can be in many ways the most challenging.  There is a predisposition of seeing other people’s jobs as less difficult than our own when in fact complexity and challenge are well-nigh universally present.  Part of the right stuff should be a humility gene that activates when confronted by the roles of others. 

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