‘To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone’.
This quote is often attributed to songwriter Reba McEntire, but is now believed to have first been said by Dr. Kavanagh during his talk on ‘Moral Anatomy’ - cited in the New Rochelle Pioneer way back in 1908. There must be something in it, since far more recently the New Zealand All Blacks mental resilience coach Gilbert Enoka has often referenced the statement as part of his no-nonsense approach to coaching rugby world champions. “In the end, you need only three bones to be successful: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone.”
So, it looks like osteology may well hold some of the secrets to success.
Here are the three bones in question:
The suggestion is that all three bones need to be present for a successful life. Having a purpose and a sense of humour is no good without the mental attitude required to achieve your goal. Having the goal and the right mental attitude may make you fiercely ambitious, but without some sense of humility, people are unlikely to support your cause. Having the ability to laugh at yourself combined with a resilient nature may well make you extremely robust as an individual, but without any clear plan for yourself or set of intentions, it is unlikely that you will ever realise your true potential.
What other bones can you think of which may be missing from this list?
Chris Watson is an award-winning specialist in the promotion of adaptive management skills, who founded Endor Learn & Develop in 2002 following a successful career in publishing and higher education.
He provides fresh, practical ideas to extend performance at work, delivering results through people for every type of organisation – from emerging SMEs through to multinational corporations.