There’s a fascinating article in Business Insider entitled: The Truth About the Most Interesting Man in the World. http://www.businessinsider.
As a journeyman actor, Mr. Goldsmith responded to the usual cattle call for the job with 500 younger and better-looking men ahead of him. He appropriately figured he didn’t have a chance, did his “schtick” and promptly forgot about it. A month later his agent took the call. The Dos Equis rep said, “We really like Jonathan…BUT…he’s just a lot older than we’re envisioning.” To which she replied, “How can the most interesting man in the world…be young?” The rep said, “I’ll call you right back.”
18 of The Most Interesting Man’s punchlines (reduced from over 100):
- He gave his father “the talk”
- When he drives a car off the lot, its price increases in value
- Superman has pajamas with his logo
- He once brought a knife to a gunfight… just to even the odds
- He has never waited 15 minutes after finishing a meal before returning to the pool
- When a tree falls in a forest and no one is there, he hears it
- He lives vicariously through himself
- His business card simply says, ‘I’ll Call You”
- In museums, he is allowed to touch the art
- He never wears a watch because time is always on his side
- He has taught old dogs a variety of new tricks
- He has won the lifetime achievement award…twice
- If opportunity knocks, and he’s not at home, opportunity waits
- He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels
- He is fluent in all languages, including three that he only speaks
- Once while sailing around the world, he discovered a short cut.
- When in Rome, they do as HE does
- He’s never lost a game of chance
But then, arrogant sons-of-guns that we are, somewhere along the line we all begin to wonder where WE stack up. What does it take to be the most interesting man or woman?
Money? What does it come down to? Money? Of course not. Fortunately, merely having a bank account with a one and a bunch of zeros doesn’t make you interesting. Rest assured, there are many, many boring wealthy people. BTW: Who’s the bald guy on the right? Any guesses? His name is Amancio Ortega and…he’s worth seventy-two BILLION dollars. Three seconds from now you won’t remember him. Yeah, it’s not just money. Oh…how did he get 72,000,000,000? All it says is he’s in retail.
Good Looks? Oh, c’mon… How many gorgeous men…or women have you gazed at across that crowded room only to find yourself pinching your leg in boredom when you engage them in conversation. Nope, good looks alone don’t make you interesting.
Okay, then. It has to be Fame. You can quantify money and you can measure many forms of knowledgeability depending on what test is administered. Is it Fame? Does Fame make you interesting? Maybe, but not necessarily. Depends on precisely what you’re famous for. What if you’re in the Guinness Book for having said nothing for the most number of years? Who has the biggest Star Wars collection? (The answer is Daniel Terdiman.) Or…would you call Adolph Hitler an interesting guy…or just a psychopathic monster?
Humor? Good stand-up comedians are funny. Okay, we’re getting into interesting territory though most of the best ones spend months or years perfecting their routines, polishing them to a high gloss to achieve just the right response. After the show, once they go home and put their feet up and have a slice of pizza are they still funny? Are they interesting? I don’t know. I have my doubts.
World’s Most Interesting Woman? Well…you could ask ten people and get twenty different answers. The actress you are peering at was perhaps one of the top three beauties on the planet, at least in my opinion. But what you probably don’t know is that Hedy Lamarr was also an inventive genius. During WWII she invented a frequency-hopping spread-spectrum technique which allowed us to point unjammable radio-controlled torpedoes at the enemy. For younger generations this translates to something more fathomable: She was the initial mind behind what is now called Bluetooth and Wifi. Impressed? And she was both charming and funny.
And as far as just interesting women are concerned, Christiane Amanpour might be pretty far up on the list as well. I’d give a month of Sundays to spend an evening just listening to her. And please, by all means, send in your candidates.
World’s Most Interesting Man?
Richard Branson…hands-down. Gutsy, funny, richer than 99.9% of the planet, very bold, takes chances that would make normal men faint and most endearing of all, tells the truth about his screw-ups. His autobiography is as candid as it is inspiring. His first enterprise, selling Christmas trees didn’t go so well. Neither did raising budgies for fun and profit. (A budgie is some kind of bird.)
His headmaster at Bishopsgate told him he’d either end up in prison…or become a millionaire. He started Virgin Records and nearly went to prison for it but then…he invested in a song called Tubular Bells for the movie, The Exorcist. He also signed up the controversial Sex Pistols. The money poured in, huge wheelbarrows full and then…he put ALL of his chips on one idea, buying up some old beat-to-hell 747s (knowing nothing about aviation) and launched Virgin Air Lines. He’s flown the world in a hot air balloon and is now a mover and shaker in Virgin Galactic’s passenger rockets to outer space. How many Virgin corporations does he own now? I’m not sure even he knows the answer. It’s over 400. Does he drink Dos Equis? Who cares?
Fascinating People are Fascinated People: You’ve suffered enough. Here’s my take for whatever it’s worth. Go to a party, sit down at a business meeting…or order breakfast at a diner. Who are the interesting people? the memorable ones? How can you spot them? One dead give-away is a look in the eyes. They are twinkling. They are looking around and…they are actually looking at YOU.
You can tell that they’ve done a lot in the first five seconds you talk with them, but the big dividing line is they are also curious about you. What’s your story? What do you do? Where are you going? What do you have planned? They really want to know. They’re curious about everything. Lose the twinkle. Lose the curiosity and you’re in trouble.
A spin-off or sidebar to this concept is that fascinated people…curious people have always done a bunch of things because of their very nature. What does a grasshopper taste like? They just might have an answer. What’s it like to put peanut butter on your ears and then lie on the floor while the dogs go after you? They might know that, too. And there are a billion different curiosities, passions, anecdotes. The more you do, the more you try, the more interesting you become.
What grade do you give yourself or your mate in the category of fascinating people? Curious people? It has to be a two-way street. If you aren’t interested in others…it’s a pretty good bet you aren’t all that interesting to them. But doing a bunch of cool things does help the cause.
And so, in conclusion… Okay, there are a whole lot of readers who are also friends, young and old and…frenemies, also young and old. The ones who know me well and have read down this far are…waiting…waiting for that egotistical shoe to drop. To a man, they are thinking, “Henry will not be able to resist a chance to cleverly work-in his own credentials for this auspicious title”. I really hate (love) to disappoint you but…not this time.
I have grown a lot over the years…matured, become less self-oriented and so, although I have, indeed, been many things, including: jet pilot, Titan Missile Launch officer, sculptor, writer, patented inventor, lumberjack, invitee for TED lecture, military spy, husband of decades, drone pilot, skier, passable father, state champ discus thrower…and, of course, dog whisperer which means: I whisper…they wag their tails and fart. I will NOT descend into crass personal indulgence or horn-tooting this time. That’s a promise that you can take to the bank. Just don’t try to cash it.