As you know, I have been travelling over the last couple of weeks and you know what that means - more of my wry observations on the facts of life according to BA's business:life magazine! (Calm down peeps, I know you can barely contain your excitement.)
The theme of the June 2011 issue of business:life is 'If At First You Don't Succeed...why we all need to fail'. Whilst I whole-heartedly agree with the sentiment (and in fact, the general tone of the articles), the 'stats sound bites' strewn throughout seemed to suggest that perhaps the realms of fantasy are society's preferred option.
We start with that perennial favourite, the body beautiful. According to business:life sources, one third of UK women would be prepared to trade at least a year of their life in exchange for an 'ideal body'. I have news for them. Obsessing about the ideal body and what constitutes this has probably shortened their lifespan already. Particularly since Britons don't start worrying about their health until aged 39 - I suspect the additional 4 inches around the waistline is probably the first clue. And then a third think that they will grow their own fruit and veg this summer - a healthy and noble ambition, no less. Does digging up garden beds gone to seed cover the 'needing to fail' bit? Might also count as exercise...two birds with one stone there.
Next we take a look at what we've been doing other than worrying and planting a few carrots and strawbs - watching telly. One fifth of Britons have been motivated to start their own business after watching programmes such as Dragon's Den and The Apprentice. So I have a question - does this mean they actually started a business or just got a nice, warm feeling about it? Reports that business failures are actually down 7.9% across the UK for Jan/Feb 2011 versus the previous year would appear to be an encouraging sign. However, the Welsh have clearly not been paying attention - with business failures up 23.9%, I suspect that the nice, warm feeling has passed them by. Although there's 2.2 million potholes in Britain - perhaps that repesents a business opportunity in the offing or at the very least, an episode of The Apprentice. Oh, sorry they already have that - when the candidates lug their shovels with them into their interviews and proceed to dig deep, deep, deep holes...
On the subject of starting one's own business, 53% of Britain's entrepreneurs put their success down to their innate talents, rather than learnt skills or education. (Perhaps pot-hole identification is genetic?) So I ask you this - what are Mums-and-Dads (M-A-D) doing paying squillions for privately educated children (£360,000 apparently) to then attend fee-paying universities? And then spending an average of £772 to bail their little darlings out on their gap year? No wonder 38% of Britons would use a discount voucher on a first date and 23% of British readers are attracted to e-books because of the cost.
And as to the value of all this education? Well, one in five Britons thinks Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple are historical figures. I rest my case...
And finally, in light of my re-entry into singledom this year, let's look to the state of romance here in the UK:
16% of British adults are planning a holiday with their parents this year.
312 is the number of times the average couple argues each year.
72% of young British men never buy flowers for their loved ones.
On the other hand, let's not.