It’s one of the most devilishly silly scenes in cinema.
In Bedazzled, Peter Cook plays Satan who, whilst holding a conversation with Dudley Moore in a bookshop, casually rips out the last page of every Agatha Christie novel on the shelf.
Imagine that. Ploughing through an entire ‘whodunit’ only to find – because some playful fiend got there before you – that you are still as much in the dark about the wicked murderer as you were when you started reading it!
I was reminded of the above when yet another article with something like ‘7 Things Incredibly Successful and Attractive People Do Before Breakfast’ popped up on my LinkedIn page.
This type of business journalism is often simplistic nonsense. Usually, such essays don’t explain what they mean by ‘successful’ (are we talking success as leaders? Financial success? Career Success?) and can we really boil down the recipe for success to a prescribed number of ingredients that all of us could easily find in our larder of personal skills?
What these articles often imply is that there is a simple panacea for all of us ordinary mortals who are desperate to shin up the slopes of Mount Olympus and sit with the other Gods. It is coal hewn from the same seam as self-help books, easy dieting regimes and dodgy scientific surveys.
Being successful – in whichever way you choose to define the term – is often about hard work and using your innate talents to deal with the complex stuff that drops on you. And it’s hard work that won’t be wished away by neatly bulleted philosophies and bucket lists of wisdom.
Unfortunately, it is like that curiously missing last page in our ‘tampered with’ Agatha Christie novel. You’ve read the book, you’ve avidly watched events unfold over the 200 plus pages and you’ve scrutinised the testaments of the main protagonists in the final meeting in the library.
So why not work it out for yourself?
But a word of warning: the devil is always in the detail.