‘Torn’ – My new acronym for “Taking Ones-self Really ‘Npretentiously”.
As I have written several times, one of the core personal qualities to embracing failure is humility (The Merton Prayer, Bill Gates Last Day, Failure is Always an Option, Harmony and Humility, Lousy Teacher). One of my favourite demonstrations of humility is Natalie Imbruglia’s Amnesty International benefit concert appearance to perform her hit song ‘Torn’.
A typical and well done love ballad about sadness and loss that became ‘one of the biggest hits of the nineties.’ As one of her defining and crowning successes, she could have been very precious about it and quite possibly miffed when it because the subject of one of the all-time top Internet parodies – David Armand’s mime rendition (if you were one of the few on the Internet who somehow missed this video, watch it first to get the context). But instead of distancing herself from this complete failure of taking a serious song seriously, she embraced it in a stunning performance for an outstanding cause. The result is as touching and inspiring as it is funny. One of the key mottos of embracing failure is ‘Never take yourself too seriously’ (Benjamin Zander’s Rule #6) and Imbruglia is a poster child for that sentiment.
One of the characteristics that I always admired about Bill Gates was his propensity to never take himself too seriously. As commented on here before, he is quite humble and modest and dressing up in funny costumes and doing silly skits couldn’t be father from his comfort zone, but he does them because he recognises that it can help the business and can bring a smile to people’s faces.