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How To Be An Amazing Person

INTERVIEW WITH DR CHARLES MARGERISON

Marion Andersson

Welcome to Amazing People Worldwide. It is my pleasure to interview the founder and author Dr Charles Margerison. Can you tell me something about why you established the organisation?

Charles Margerison

It is a place where you can meet inspirational people who made major contributions to our lives.

Amazing People Worldwide started when I had the idea that it would be interesting to meet people like William Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Florence Nightingale, and Galileo, to ask them questions about their life and work. We can travel round the world by plane in 24 hours, or talk to someone 10,000 miles away in an instant. So, I thought why not travel through time and meet people who changed our world.

Marion Andersson

That sounds interesting and I like the idea of travelling through time. How have you done it?

Charles Margerison

I have visited the countries, cities, and towns where they were born and absorbed the atmosphere within which they worked. As a result, I have written their life stories, as if they are talking to me personally. Each one can be read, or heard via an audio recording, in about 10 to 15 minutes. So, William Shakespeare describes how he went to London to seek his fame and fortune. Mozart describes his remarkable childhood touring Europe like a pop star of today.

Marie Curie explains how she won two Nobel Prizes. Charles Dickens outlines what motivated him to write his books. Christopher Columbus recounts his adventures on the high seas to find new lands.

Their stories are called BioViews which is a word derived from biographical interviews.

Marion Andersson

I understand that you have identified over 500 amazing people so far and the list continues to expand.  What do you think makes a person amazing and how can it help us?

Charles Margerison

Shakespeare, Mozart, Einstein, President Lincoln, and Michelangelo are all acclaimed as amazing people. However, their achievements were in different areas. So, we need a way of comparing the process by which they became amazing rather than their special area of expertise.

In studying more than 500 people, I came to a short definition. It is that all the amazing people used their time exceptionally well to contribute in ways that left legacies that are still regarded as exceptional.

The reason why it is important to study their work is that we can learn from their achievements. In doing so, we can improve our own performance. That is a topic that has engaged my attention for personal and professional reasons.

As a psychologist, a major part of my job has been to help people improve their performance in business, sport and life in general.  We must look forward and plan better ways of developing people’s talents.

Therefore, it is important to study those who we regard as outstanding in their professional areas. With so much money spent on education, we should expect to develop more amazing people.  Yet, good tuition by itself is no guarantee. Each of the amazing people learned by experience and application. After all, who taught Shakespeare to write plays? There is no evidence that he went on any special courses.

President Lincoln was born into a poor family and had very little formal school education. Michelangelo was apprenticed to a leading sculptor of the time, but was already producing outstanding works of art.

No one will argue about the need for education, but there are some who succeeded despite their lack of formal tuition. In the world of business, Thomas Edison was amazing. He had 1079 patents registered and produced inventive breakthroughs power generation, communication, and sound reproduction amongst other brilliant developments. Yet, he was removed from formal education at the age of seven for being disruptive, as he was rather deaf. His mother helped him learn, but only until he was 13 years of age when he went to work on the railways.

Marion Andersson

What do you think are some of the key points that we can learn from amazing people to improve our own performance?

Charles Margerison

First, identify your talent in whatever area it is. That is what amazing people did. Then, they practiced and worked hard at what they did. Focus on what you can do well. It may be in sport, or in a hobby like photography or in business. In all cases, the people who we now regard as amazing discovered what they were good at and focussed on it.

  • Marie Curie is the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes, both of which were in the field of science. Despite not being allowed to go to university in her native Poland, she emigrated to France and with determination and hard work succeeded.
  • William Shakespeare enjoyed writing. Rather than taking it for granted, he looked for opportunities to share his creations.
  • Albert Einstein pursued his interest in science against the odds, as he was working in an office to start with, and his views were against conventional opinion.
  • Abraham Lincoln had strong beliefs and wanted to gain power to make changes. Although he lost the first major election that he entered, he went on to become an outstanding American President and abolished slavery.
  • Mozart was trained by his father to play music from a very early age and developed his skills as a professional performer before he was a teenager.
  • Michelangelo pursued his interest in art despite opposition from his father.

Identifying the area of one’s talent is vital. If Shakespeare had tried to be a scientist would he have been amazing? Would Marie Curie have become an amazing painter?  Maybe if Einstein had tried to be a musician he would not have been amazing.  So, the first step is to find out what you can do well. Concentrate on it, even though others may have little interest or get in your way.

Second, work hard at your chosen area of interest.  There is no doubt that amazing people did so. The number of plays that Shakespeare wrote attests to his dedication. Mozart was renowned for his many compositions, despite working in places where it was hard to concentrate, due to many journeys organized by his father all over Europe. Marie Curie worked long hours in poor conditions. Charles Dickens wrote many books. In short, the more you do the more you are likely to improve.

Third, listen to feedback and take criticism as advice. You will have to overcome criticism, doubt and even indifference. Some people give up when criticized. Some, who are scared of rejection, never take risks.

The amazing people that we know kept going, even when others around them had doubts. They were strong believers in their own ability.

Thomas Edison, the great inventor and entrepreneur, was told many times that it was impossible to find the material to create a light bulb. When another experiment failed, he would tell his team that another important step had been achieved. As they learned more about what did not work, they were eliminating the errors in their search. His eventual success brought fame and fortune and changed our lives.

Marion Andersson

Those are interesting points. In conclusion, what would you suggest we could do today to improve?

Charles Margerison

Amazing people produced results rather than excuses. They converted inputs of time into outputs of art, music, science, business and other measurable activity. They managed their work time well.

In summary, the three areas can be remembered simply as the three Ps.

  • Preference – Find out what interests you and what you prefer to do.
  • Practise – Focus on improving the things that interest you by regular practise.
  • Perform – Set output standards and dates and produce results.

Those who know their preference and practice usually perform well.

The Amazing People BioView Stories and recordings are a great way to help both children and adults understand how amazing people helped us make progress in medicine, engineering, science and other vital areas. Their stories can inspire your own career efforts and personal development. Visit www.amazingpeopleworldwide.com to learn more. 

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