Ambition is important but it is important to be kind. Lorraine Kelly said that at an awards ceremony last night when she accepted an award. I have met her on a few occasions, when she interviewed me, and I know someone who lives close to her in her home in Mallorca. They say she is a lovely lady. I was even once filmed by her husband on a pilot show. He was, like all the TV cameramen I have ever met, much more straight forward, down to earth, and to use Lorraine Kelly's words, much kinder than any of those I have met who have made their living in front of the camera. Those I have met have been ruthless, greedy, selfish with a default nature to be unkind (they are natural born takers, not natural born givers).
They work very hard at appearing to be kind, especially now, when even the royals are talking mental health issues. It is unkindness which has caused this. There is so much mean spiritedness in our media, in business and commerce, in politics, finance and showbusiness. Indeed, those who rise to the top, our 'role models' are the most mean spirited of the lot.
So I was bemused by Lorraine's comment, although I think it was meant for those in the room rather than the general public. Kindness is not needed in television, nor is it in any business where the competition is fierce to get to the top. it is a weakness which is exploited. Being ruthless, selfish, greedy are the qualities which define most of those who appear on screen, who have made it to the top of their game. There are many talented and lucky people who have not made it there, and possibly their luck is that they haven't.
One friend has recently gone stratospheric in their rise in profile and the only thing which surprises me, is that they are surprised the people they are meeting now, are, in their own words 'horrible'. These people work very hard at appearing to be kind, with their well-placed and well-voiced philanthropy, virtue signaling at every photo opportunity, giving back the funds from those they took from in the first place, and redistributing it back to them and expecting an OBE for the act. The financial sector are particularly guilty of this but at least, as a profession, they never hide their avarice. As one banks says in its TV advertisement 'we are what we do'. Quite.
Indeed if you are kind, the likelihood in the world of show business, you are likely to be walked over, your ideas stolen and you will only be on an invitation list if you are of any use on a professional level. That is not kind, it is strategic and ruthless. It is business. It is how the structure of business works. Even the 'wellness industry' with all its mindful vocabulary has as much ego and greed and ruthlessness in it these days that I feel it has been hijacked by the 'sick'. If you are ruthless, strategic, angry and calculating, selfish and greedy, when you think enough is never enough, you are likely to aim high, treading all those who put barriers up to you, or indeed help you, under foot. I like to think the Bonfire of the Vanities is a moralistic tale which is true to life, but I don't believe it is. Kind people do not ever want to be paid for it, they just don't want to be punished or penalized for it either.
Of course, those who have made it to the top, which Lorraine Kelly has, may be able to talk about being kind. They are able to afford to be as well as talk about being kind. But it is not kindness that gets you to the top in a society which rewards mean spiritedness (and it does) under the guise of constructive criticism, it is ruthless ambition. Something you should keep in mind the next time you hear a celebrity or anyone with any sort of Tv profile spouting love and light and kindness. They are always more wounded than healer. They have regurgitated sound bites from their counsellor or therapist without buying into the reality of what they are saying. Their kindness is not what got them where they are today, and deep down, they know it. So they should stop preaching to the rest of us, because we are the ones who are kind already. Those who have least, give most and those who have most give least. Not just in financial terms, but in every way. I see it in the schools and hospitals. They are our role models. Those who chose a caring profession rather than one that shouts 'its all about me! or 'this is mine'.
Of course, it is the structure which allows unkind people to prosper. And it is unkind people who maintain the structure which allows unkind people to prosper. I think unkindness is more prevalent in some industries than others, but I have found that it does tend to seep into most. Any corporate lessons on empathy for example, would be introduced to show how to better understand people so you could more effectively screw them over. I've seen it happen.