For Me, Pepper, I Put It On My Plate

Nardwuar the Human Serviette is an interviewer from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He began his broadcasting career at his college radio station on a friday afternoon in October 1987 and has hosted his program every friday afternoon since then. Through his interviews, however, he has risen to cult prominence, known for his extensive (some would say excessive) research of his subjects, and his presentation of gifts to his subjects based on his research.

In 2011, Nardwuar spoke at a TEDx event in his home town, preaching the basic principle of trying. It sounds played out, but after he presents his evidence — how he’s made a career out of simply trying and putting himself in a place to succeed — it is hard to dismiss his point.

He repeats the phrase, “because I asked” in explaining how he was able to interview and make connections with so many A-List figures, whether they be musicians, entertainment figures, or even politicians. It is through his persistence that he managed to extract the now famous quote, “For me, pepper, I put it on my plate” from Jean Chrétien, the then-Prime Minister of Canada, in reference to the use of pepper spray on political protestors in the country at the time.

I find this talk inspiring because theoretically, Nardwuar should have nothing. He’s an eccentric guy who loves music and decided that he would do everything in his power to make a career out of it. He’s been carried out by several security guards in his day and has put his personal wellbeing at risk but it’s all in the name of something that he loves, and it has paid off.

The title of this speech, “Do It Yourself”, is the very basis of what my self-designed major aims to accomplish. While it is important to make connections, I also hope to learn how to succeed in my own field by relying on as few people for essential tasks as possible and leaving as few things up to chance as possible. Or, if they really are that bleak, at least leaving them up to chance and giving myself the best possible chance to succeed. The most important step is putting in the proficient effort that will allow the stars to align. In other words, even if something really does depend on luck, it takes skill and determination to even get to the point where luck comes into play.

Trying is a very overused bit of advice to give, but when it was presented in the way it was in this speech, it really made me reevaluate if and how I give myself opportunities to succeed and how I can improve upon this moving forward.

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