Last week I shared the Charles Schulz’s philosophy on what’s most important to us all. The piece starts with a list of what defines success to many people: extreme wealth, winning pro athletes, beauty pageant winners, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, and Oscar-winning actors. Of course, Schulz’s philosophy goes on to expand on what’s really important to most people.
A few days ago fellow blogger John Persico, with the great blog name of Aging Capriciously, posted a piece that similarly looked at how we decide what or who is the best or greatest in any particular area. This particular blog post is called The 10 greatest of everything – to me anyway. John made it clear that the ten categories he chose to evaluate are just his choices. The criteria he used to determine who or what would be declared the greatest in each category are likewise his alone, and he allowed that someone else might choose very different criteria (like me, for example!). And he made it clear that he thought about it long and hard, researched the “candidates” for selection, and had a lot of fun doing it. His categories and criteria certainly gave me food for thought, which is what blogging is all about, right?!
Here are the categories John chose to evaluate for greatest ever: greatest prophet, greatest book, greatest general, greatest empire, greatest leader, greatest writer, greatest philosopher, greatest scientist, greatest individual athlete, and greatest composer. Any of you who know me very well will be able to identify some of John’s categories that made me alternately drop my jaw and/or smile! But those are the categories that were of interest to John. More power to him.
His criteria also intrigued me; if I were going to create my own version of a list of 10 Greatest, I’d be changing both the categories and the criteria. And he’d be fine with that. After thinking about this for quite a while (while watching the totally awesome U.S. Open Women’s Finals Saturday evening, even if Canada’s Leylah Fernadez didn’t quite pull it off), as an alternative I’m going to suggest a somewhat different approach. Any reader who is looking for a fun challenge is encouraged to join me. We’ll start by constructing a sample list of who has made the most significant contribution to making the world a better place to live in a number of categories. Here we go, along with a few possible candidates, just to get the ball rolling.
Who has done the most to:
- Improve the rights for women (voting, working, education, driving, planned parenthood, etc.)
- Improve the rights of children (end forced labour, access to education, access to healthcare, end forced child bride marriages, etc.)
- Improve the rights, respect, and dignity of minority groups (overcome discrimination, oppression, enslavement, systemic racism, displacement, etc.)
- Fight for safe passage and hope for a future for refugees, whose numbers are growing
- Combat global poverty
- Promote peace
- Provide inspirational leadership by demonstrating the values of peace, compassion, and human dignity
- Combat climate change and environmental degradation
- Promote wildlife conservation
- Advance medical knowledge and improvement in health worldwide
Remember that there are three aspects to this challenge.
First, everyone who goes for the challenge needs to consider which ten categories to include on their list. I can think of a few others I might want to add to my draft list, but if so then I’ll have to decide which categories to delete.
Once you’re happy with your list, the next step is deciding on criteria for each category. What criteria will you use to evaluate each person who might be deserving of this recognition?
And, of course, the last step is to spend time researching who in fact has made significant contributions in each of your final categories – throughout history – and use your criteria to determine the “winner” in each category. Now that’s my idea of fun!
Many thanks to John Persico for giving me much to think about. He’s very good at that. My hope is to have my categories, criteria, and “winners” finalized in one week’s time. I’d love to hear from you with your ideas on possible categories, criteria, and/or suggested candidates in any or all categories! I hope you have fun thinking about it.