Saturday, June 07, 2008

BHAGs and such

going to oslo regularly makes me think about things. big things like the nobel prize. there's a nobel prize museum in oslo (which i haven't yet visited) and the first time i went to oslo, i stayed in the hotel where the peace prize winner(s) come out and greet the crowds. there's something cool about that.

DIGRESSION: it's a bit hazy for me as to why the swedish (not the SWISS) academy picks the prizes, but they are awarded in oslo and yet alfred nobel was swedish. something to do with kings and independence and being nice to the provinces, i guess. although i've been living in a country with royalty for ten years now, i don't really get all that business.

i was reading (you guessed it) haruki murakami's hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world, on the ship last night on the way back. and, being given to hyperbolic, sweeping statements, i announced to my husband, "if haruki murakami doesn't win the nobel prize for literature, there is no justice in the world and they should simply stop giving it out." and then, i said, "if we move to oslo, i'm going to make it my mission to get myself on the committee that picks the nobel prize for literature." he laughed and said, "i think you've been in the wrong business for that."

i reminded him of my (almost finished) Ph.D. in eastern european literature and that i wasn't without literary knowledge. but he pointed out (rather harshly, i might add), that the key words were "almost finished." then he said, "you'd have a better chance of achieving a goal of owning a ship in the next couple of years." while that might be nice, it doesn't really have anything to do with the nobel prize for literature, now does it?

but, this whole conversation, as disjointed as it may seem, got me thinking in general about BHAGs-Big Hairy Ambitious Goals. and why SHOULDN'T we pursue them? why should we be held back by common sense or reason? why couldn't i find my way into the hallowed circles of those choosing the nobel prize for literature? why shouldn't i try? or at least look into how one goes about it?

i didn't really imagine that i would be sitting on the pearl of scandinavia reading murakami and sipping a glass of white wine and that some important, scholarly-looking person would just saunter past and say "hey, we're over here discussing the next recipient of the nobel prize for literature and we wondered if you'd like to join us and tell us what you think about that murakami that i noticed you're reading." of course it's something one would have to WORK on. you'd have to write papers and publish them. you'd have to find out who the powers that be are. you'd have to start hanging out where you might meet them. if you're in the right place at the right time, things can happen. but they certainly won't happen if you allow yourself to be held back by silly old obstacles.

on the other hand, it might be fun to own a nice little tanker...but who is to say one can't have both? it's always good to have BHAGs...


hele said...

I also think Marakami is worthy of a nobel prize. I would therefore gladly start working towards getting on that team. However, I am unfortunately on another important mission right now.
A final bid to save the planet from the apes and the apes from themselves ;)

Jaime said...

No great things would be accomplished in this world if people didn't make an attempt at pursuing them, believing that the challenge would just be too great.
I raise my glass to your BHAG's...whether they be in literary form, or tanker.
Definitely always good to have a few BHAG's.