Every man has a story... even the Bumble Bee*

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I was in the book store wandering around, basking in the feeling of being over stimulated with the vast amount of, you know.... books. I buy on-line and down load to my Kindle but given the choice I would rather meander the aisles for hours just looking, touching, picking up and putting down - it's spiritual. As I am wandering euphorically I come to a wall of books simply entitled "Every man has a story" - All nicely subcategorized for my perusing pleasure.

It struck me that it is true, we all have a story... for most of us, still figuratively being written and edited. It was here that I also realized I am fascinated with those people who defy the "odds"... you know, those people who, if you saw them on paper you would simply shake your head and say "I don't see it", yet somehow, they literally go on to change our world. 

Like all of us, we compare, contrast and look for that common denominator in those we admire so we ourselves can understand, intellectualize, reproduce and emulate these qualities.  So with that said, please play along with me as we look at Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Billie Beane and the Bumble Bee with regards to defying the odds per se. (An eclectic group right?)

It took me a while to finish the book "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which chronicles the political genius of Abraham Lincoln - well worth the read. Let me quickly summarize: A rather tall, self-taught lawyer from the back woods of Illinois defies all the odds of the day to become the 16th President of the United States. Knowing the country is a "house divided" over the issue of slavery, which would most likely catapult the country into a war between brothers, he proceeds to assemble his cabinet with his political rivals navigating through 5 years of civil war; bringing the 13th Amendment into existence abolishing slavery and ultimately ending arguably one of the bloodiest wars in human history. 

In the mid 1950's, there was an avant garde movement establishing itself that ultimately would give birth to what we now know as Pop Art; redefining that art can be defined as anything and not just what the so called "establishment" defines as art. In the late 50's a young, awkward, gay, introverted, commercial artist living in New York joined this movement - Not only did he help redefine what was considered art, he actually created a new form of art that had previously never been seen. Everyone recognizes and defines those multi-image silk screens of celebrities as a "Warhol"... right away... there is no other. Andy Warhol created and defined an art form.

Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics was able to consistently field a winning baseball team with a budget substantially less than his competitors. His story is one of how, in a practical sense, he changed the way baseball needed to be managed. Outlined in the book Moneyball and popularized by the movie of the same name, Billie Beane and his team developed a radically different method for getting the most value for the players that play the game.

And now we humbly get to the bumble bee, you know, the short, stubby, small winged bee that moves around your garden industriously looking for nectar and pollonating each flower it hovers to - Did you know in the 1930's the French entomologist August Magnan noted that the insect's flight is actually impossible? Bumble Bee ignorance verses Human arrogance. 

Academics, writers, pundits and entomologists have produced countless books, white papers, blogs, videos, movies, exhibits (and the like) exploring who these four are, their achievements and the impact they have had. So let's simply say there is nothing I will say that will have any radical impact on the current cornerstones of thought; it wasn't really my intention anyway, so I have not lost sleep or weight due to worry. I was curious though to see if there was any commonality among the four, which may define those factors that defy those odds I refer to.

What struck me as I looked at this was not when I looked at our four characters individually but as an aggregate - some characteristics simply leapt out at me: Leadership with Lincoln, a visionary in Warhol, the ability to lead change by being different with Beane. There you go; Leadership, Vision and the ability to drive Change -  I like it!

So about now you are asking, "what about the Bee?" My entomology is rusty, but I would be the first to say that there are few Bumble Bees leading visionary change regarding how pollen should be collected two meadows over; with that said though, the Bumble Bee is very industrious. Leadership, vision and change will never happen without a lot of this. I like it even better!

Oh yes, we eventually did figure out how the Bumble Bee was able to fly, which I am certain this validation is reassuring for the species... but the real point is the Bumble Bee simply "does what it does ", independently of what people have said it should be able to do - it simply does what comes naturally and what it believes in**. I think it is with this that the Bumble Bee has earned the right to be used in the same sentence with Abraham Lincoln.

So now I really like it!

 Leadership, vision, an agent of change, hard work and a simple belief in your self. This is something to emulate for sure when defying the odds.


* For the biologists in the crowd it is not lost on me that those Bumble Bees flying around the garden are female.

** I have taken a little artistic licence here with regards to the Bumble Bee having the neurological capacity to "believe". I hope you get my point though and don't hold it against me.