Today is the 109th anniversary of the birth of Beryl Markham. She was the first pilot to fly non-stop from England to North America, worked as a bush pilot in Africa, bred and trained thoroughbred racehorses, hunted with Kenyan tribesmen, and wrote a novel that made Ernest Hemmingway say he felt ashamed of himself as a writer.
By all accounts she would have competed just fine with modern reality TV folk. Gorgeous and manipulative, she persuaded a string of men to finance her aviation adventures, and may have had help from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, one of her many lovers, to write that well-received book. Hemmingway also called her a high-grade bitch. Hmm, I wonder if she ever met Jean Batten. Maybe I need to work it a little more to produce career progress.
Rather than encouraging her, most people in her society would have thought she was out of line for even trying these things. There's a movie and a handful of books about her, and a crater on Venus named for her. She died at the age of eighty-six, and not by getting lost at sea. I think most people would rather compare their accomplishments with those of reality television show competitors than with people like this, because it's intimidating to realize that we haven't achieved what she has in even one field.