Just between you and me, I’m never going to win a Nobel prize.

Imagine if you will a graph whose horizontal axis represents your life.

On the left, the day you were born, on the extreme right, your last day here on planet Earth – a long time in the future, we all hope.

Let’s now add a vertical axis which indicates the likelihood of you winning a Nobel Prize.

I know, I know, but just bear with me on this one please.


Back at that y-axis, its lower end represents no chance, while its upper stands for ‘quite a big probability, actually’.

Finally, let’s add the data – a line representing the way your Nobel Prize chances vary through your life.

Now, it’s said that children are born with infinite potential, and while you could pick holes in this principle along the lines of nature and nurture probably having a say in a youngster’s opportunities, it may well have been the case that if things had panned out differently it might have been you getting that magic phone call later on today.

For those who do actually go on to become Nobel Laureates, the line would rise over time as their work leads them towards recognition, then perhaps steadily fall away as they head into retirement.

For the likes of you and me, however, the graph (being generous to ourselves) might go from high at the left end, to zero at the right.

If you’re not currently engaged in cutting edge research in Chemistry, Physics or Medicine, nor do you pass your days brokering important Peace deals, it is (and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth) rather unlikely that you’ll be picking up a Nobel Prize.

Hoping without due reason that you might would be a rather extreme example of wanting to be something that you’re not.

But I think we can all be inclined, at times, to feel dissatisfied with our lot: to believe that if things were somehow very different, we’d be fifty times happier, say.

It’s true, big changes are sometimes possible but, more often than not, tomorrow is likely to be only marginally different from today.

So maybe it makes sense, if necessary, to shrug your shoulders and be comfortable with who you are.

I’ll go first if you like: I’m Jon Cousins and I’m never going to win a Nobel Prize.

(The closest I’ll ever get is that Carmelo, who cuts my hair at Stanford University, has also tended the locks of Nobel laureates.)


6 thoughts on “Just between you and me, I’m never going to win a Nobel prize.

  1. Hi I’m Judy and I am never going to win a Nobel Prize either ! I am ok with that and proud of what I have done with my life so far. I have produced two kind intelligent warm children who still have the possibility of perhaps winning such a prize but even if they don’t – will make the world a kinder more compassionate place as I have tried to do.
    All is well!

  2. Hi I’m Frank. I am 60 and semi-retired. More retired than semi these days. I am feeling the Noble prize is probably not coming my way. I too have a great family with four grandkids and one on the way. My prize would be to make the shift from manager to being a better father and grandfather. I have spent over 35 years focusing on my career and trying take care of my family. I would like to learn to shift gears with the time I have left and focus on the family and helpin others. This may sound easy, but as a workaholic for so long, it’s tough

  3. Hi I’m Kathryn, I will never win a Nobel prize. Like Judy I have 2 great kids, a lovely family and a job that depending on th direction of the wind…I enjoy.
    I will also never be perfect, un-biased or lose 6 kgs. Ha that feels better…..have a nice Christmas

  4. Thankyou Jon & Alexandra,
    for your encouraging, thought provoking and
    somebody cares and understands posts sent this year.
    Most I do read.
    Most do penetrate.
    At times that slender connection matter more than you know.

    Do not feel disheartened, if I do not click through.
    Do not feel disheartened, if I do not comment.
    I am leaden.

    Please know that what you do is very, very helpful.
    Your emails are forwarded by to others who get lost in the dark of their minds at times.
    You put in words nameless, vague, undermining feelings that muddy my mind.
    That weigh heavy in the body. That cause inaction. That isolate. That are nameless.

    Jon & Alexandra, hug each other, receive the love from all the nameless you encourage to lift their heads towards life.

    1. What interesting words, Melanie, and I’m sure you reflect the views of any on here, certainly me! “Leaden” is good, says it all ready. ” You put in words nameless, vague, undermining feelings that muddy my mind .” I do like that sentence. It is so true.
      So thank you Melanie and John.

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