Friday night found me at Prestonfield House Hotel with Shaf to raise money for the Prince's Trust - http://www.prestonfield.com/welcome.htm, and staying at the Tiger Lily hotel on George Street in Edinburgh.
What I love about the Prince's Trust is that they believe that everyone of us has a unique contribution to make to the world, and they organise and mobilise the people and resources to enable each of us to find that unique contribution and deliver it. No one gets off as a freeloader in society; each one of us is meant to contribute something.
But secondly the Prince's Trust correctly observes something else about human nature in that we all have been helped along the way by people to whom we owe a measure of our success. It is our responsibility to send the lift down to the next group of entrepreneurs, aspiring business people, who are trying to find a way up.
I always love coming up to Edinburgh; each time it's more lovely. And the Scottish men are *men* - not boys - they have this wonderful old fashioned air about them; reminds me of my father.
And never one to let an opportunity go by for a day of pampering - I checked myself into Zen - www.zen-lifestyle.com - where I had the best massage of my life. At the point that the muscles are crunching, you realise that you've a wee bit of stress during the week...
I was a Top Gear virgin, and rolled out of bed on Saturday to watch that for the first time this past Saturday - what a hoot!
And speaking of *real men*, I heard General Petraeus, he the architect of the Surge in Iraq, speak this past week at the Policy Exchange keynote. He spoke eloquently of the connectedness of the world, and how we can't allow terrorism in one part of the globe, and expect that it won't find its way to other parts fast.
He described Central Command - http://www.centcom.mil/ - 20 countries, 530 million people, 22 ethnic groups, 4 religions, with some of the highest per capita and lowest per capita regions of the world where 40% of the population is between 18 and 29, and economic opportunities are insufficient. Those angry young men move from shouting to shooting as he said...
I came away feeling quite reassured by Petraeus as he outlined both the challenges and the concepts for action:
· The approach must be comprehensive
· sustained and enduring; complex problems require persistent efforts
· awareness that we must pursue collaborative multilateral efforts leveraging the comparative advantages of all the partners
Overall, he is optimistic that we can get those angry men to reject the resistance and engage in political participation.
I definitely felt in the presence of greatness.
The Iraqi elections are happening in mid-January; yet another reason for the Entrepreneur Country Forum in January 2010 to have the theme - "Politics Not as Usual".
In Afghanistan, he said that things are hard, and they are hard all the time.
And he closed by quoting Cecil Rhodes who said, "in the lottery of life, the greatest prize is to be born an Englishman". And graciously he added, "if that is true, then in the lottery of life, the second greatest prize is to have an Englishman as a friend."