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What Dolly Parton can teach Vladimir Putin

In 1983, a group of music entrepreneurs in search of money and immortality agreed to create a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Artists love recognition, and more than 300 have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including David Bowie and Nina Simone. But Dolly Parton doesn’t want to join them. the vaccine financing The singer has walked away from her nomination, saying, “I don’t feel like I deserve that right.”

A cynic might say Parton retired before she was voted out: She’s a country and pop legend, but some fans question her rock credentials. She is on one long list of 17 artists honored for the honor this year, including Beck, Dionne Warwick and, ahem, Eminem.

But retreating in the face of embarrassing defeat is real wisdom, as Vladimir Putin has learned. If you announce your withdrawal early and proudly turn it into a win – something else that could be noted in the Kremlin and passed on to the 20ft chart.

Parton’s restraint is a lesson for the rest of us, too. Boundless ambition is part of our culture. Even failure should only be a springboard to greater heights. But we know our limits better than those who appoint us. You could brag through an interview, but should you? Sometimes the bold option is to accept that someone else is better qualified.

The Peter Principle, coined in 1969 but identified years earlier, holds that people rise in a hierarchy to the level at which they are incompetent. You do a job well and get promoted to a job that requires different skills.

The principle blows even harder among celebrities. People who have reached the top in one profession go straight to the top in another. Former British Chancellor George Osborne was parachuted out as newspaper editor; Footballer Frank Lampard quickly became Premier League manager; Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is a wellness influencer.

Celebrities have a hard time accepting their limitations because they became famous by denying them. “Trust is the main factor for success . . . I just think you can do it,” said Parton, who attributed her desire for attention to being the fourth of 12 children. She has released more than 3,000 songs, directed films, founded a reading charity and created the Dollywood theme park. As Andy Warhol said her She could be a great preacher, she shot back, “What do you think? I am a great preacher.”

But Parton always had an engaging modesty. One of her biggest songs, “I Will Always Love You,” was written for country music star Porter Wagoner. She had grown too big to continue on his TV show, but the lyrics suggest otherwise: “If I should stay / I would be in your way.”

she said NPR 2012 that she has “a guilt complex” for being successful in front of others “much more talented”. It’s now called Imposter Syndrome (and the Peter Principle has never applied equally to women, who are less likely to be promoted if they don’t excel). But a certain amount of self-doubt is healthy.

William Sherman, the Union general in the American Civil War, dismissed talk of the Republican presidential nomination in 1884. saying: “I will not accept nomination and will not serve if elected.” Sherman thought he would be “a fool, a madman, an ass” if he entered politics at the age of 65. He also hated politics and feared his wife’s Catholicism would be targeted. Many celebrities tempted by politics should take his example into account.

Parton’s Hall of Fame rejection wasn’t Shermanesque. It was better than that. She suggested that one day she might accept “if I’m ever worthy”; In fact, the process had inspired them to put out “a hopefully great rock ‘n’ roll album.” How unbelievable, at the age of 76, to reject fame that she feels is unworthy of and instead turn to hard work. Someone needs to establish a Hall of Fame for such exploits.

henry.mance@ft.com

https://www.ft.com/content/395cf4b6-8eb5-4c33-9c1c-0c7b92047099 What Dolly Parton can teach Vladimir Putin

Adam Bradshaw

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