The source of my mini-eureka moment this week was an episode of London Real.
In that episode, the show’s host, Brian, briefly mentioned a fascinating result of a study conducted in the US which showed that some of the country’s Presidents are so little known that most people don’t recognise their names.
On the face of it, there is nothing illuminating about that result – after all, the have been 44 US Presidents so far.
But think about it for a second: you could be President of the most powerful country in the world but in just a few generations you could be hardly remembered!
What does that tell us? What implications does that have for us, ordinary folk?
Well, here comes my mini-eureka moment: the difference between an ordinary man and the President of the United States of America is, on average and in the long term, insignificant.
There is only a handful of people, less than 0.000001% of the population, who have a chance of becoming significant figures in human history. In the long term, across many generations, even most of US Presidents won’t be widely remembered.
This, somehow paradoxically, gives an ordinary man a good reason to relax.
Have you hoped to become the next Roger Federer but you feel that, at 22, your chances of winning Wimbledon are rather slim?
Did you have a hard time when you learned that you would not be promoted to a partner?
Are you an aspiring actor who failed to make it in Hollywood?
Don’t worry, even if you had managed to achieve your big goal, very few people would care about it in 100 years’ time.