How many people change career, change a relationship or move – just because they have a brilliant idea, a super plan or an unfulfilled dream?
Not many. Why?
Fear. Fear of everything. They confuse fears with failures. Fear of failure keeps ideas, dreams and hopes bottled up. Great ideas never get airborne because someone feared to open their mouth. Why?
Perhaps conditioning from early life in their sandbox or grade school or living in families that rewarded compliance and dismissed failures …or failures to fit someone’s norm or live up to their expectations.
We know those names – famous examples. We know Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Parks, Keller and Borlog. Was Edison afraid? Michaelangelo? Da Vinci? Newton? Mozart? Van Gogh?
They weren’t famous at first.
Before anyone knew their genius, they were simply trying stuff.
Tens of thousands more, doing great things – forever in relative obscurity in the shadows of greatness and celebrity. And we know Hawking? We know also that we don’t have to look very far to find countless examples of lesser known, or barely known, innovators who made great change to the way our lives are designed, just by trying stuff …
Rarely do they fail completely.
Rarely do they succeed overnight.
What works got started. Gestation period of ideas and products, bizarre paths littered with re-think, re-design, re-build, bugs and accidents. TED talks, iPhones rock. Most new products fail, all TV shows get cancelled at some point. Broadway shows eventually close. We live in a culture that fears failure, fears disaster and which is addicted to new. To improved. And, sadly, many people feel failure when there is no failure in sight.
Design matters, or is it an accident?
Not everything in life is pretty, but when something looks elegant – beyond form following function, we know it when we see it. We think we do. Products, policies, procedures – are awash in design. Constant incremental improvement has brought us this year’s model of ….. whatever. It must be new and improved, it says so – right on the box. If must be fantastic because that TV added is yelling at me to order one, buy one or test drive one. It’s new. It must be improved.
We are well trained seals consumers. I get that.
As we each go about making whatever difference we make in the world, we should not fear failure – but rather we should fear the complacency of fearing to try. Fearing to stretch or grow. Fearing to change. Fearing to try something that doesn’t work.
We have so much of life to live and enjoy – we shouldn’t let worries about which nuance of anything won’t work when we have so much evidence that figuring out why things don’t work is such an enormous part of progress for this planet and everyone on it.
Hug a stranger. Do something backwards. Put a finger on the map – and book a trip. Pick up the phone and ask a question of someone …
Yes, it is that easy.
Here’s an idea for you – this is a weekend. Have some fun. Try stuff. Explore some new idea – or an old one. Explore someone new, or look up an old friend. Tinker. Play. Think. Experiment. Who knows? You might become an overnight success …
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 7C/44F, sights of fall, sounds of lawnmowers and leaf-blowers fill the air – everyone’s off to work and making traffic snarl – a brisk walk in fall colour everywhere ..