“There are two mistakes one
can make along the road of truth.
Not going all the way, and
~ Siddhartha Gautama
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his
pioneering book, The
Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which outlined his
three laws of motion. One of the laws Newton outlined has application across
the landscape of your life: It’s the first law of motion:
either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless
acted upon by an external force. (i.e., Objects in motion tend to stay in
motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.)
Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.
The most important thing is to find a way to get
started. Just start. When can you start? Soon is not as good as now.
Get used to
Starting can be
hard. Making a difference can be hard.
A while ago I suggested to someone who wanted to write
a book to start by setting up a blog and starting to write. He responded, “I
want to make sure I have enough content before I start writing.”
Four years later. Nothing. Nada.
I can illustrate that scenario in other areas (work out more, become a better
photographer, get certified in project management) many times over.
Translation. We would rather dream about doing something than actually take action.
Don’t let that describe you.
In short: Start.
Godin says risk is avoided because we’ve been trained to avoid failure. He
defines anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.
state of the rest of the world. If your project doesn’t have forward movement,
then compared to the rest of the world, you’re actually moving backward. As
Godin says, “Like a rock in a flowing
river, you might be standing still, but given the movement around you,
collisions are inevitable.”
that the paradox for the person who favors no movement is that there’s far less
instability around the log floating down the same river. It’s moving forward,
it’s changing, but related to the river around it, it’s comparatively calm.
You could be wrong
One of the
voices, lines of dialogue, that fear uses is the word “no.” Or another go-to
phrase that fear enjoys so much is the phrase “you could be wrong.”
Fear is like the
character that keeps stumbling into the play of your life. Fear keeps barging
into the door onto the stage. (Even though the character, fear, isn’t included
in the plot.) Characters in the play are trying to move the plot forward. And
fear tries to interrupt the play and say, “You could be wrong,” thus
interrupting the narrative, causing the plot not to unfold as it should.
That is correct.
You could be wrong. Silence fear and acknowledge “Yes, that is correct. I could
be wrong. And if I am, I will have the opportunity to learn something.”
It turns out
that the original Starbucks didn’t sell brewed coffee. That’s right. They sold
coffee beans and tea leaves and even spices.
that the original owners of Starbucks made a blunder. They were more focused on
selling beans and didn’t sell brewed coffee. Had they just continued down the
path of selling beans, Starbucks would not have succeeded. It took Howard
Schultz, a trip to Italy, and his absolute fascination and obsession with
espresso to turn Starbucks into what we know of it today. Now there are more
than 20,000 Starbucks around the world.
point. Can you imagine if the wrong
Starbucks had never been designed and constructed? What if they said, “Well,
we’re not sure if this bean thing is going to work, so let’s sit on our hands
and do NOTHING”?
Wrigley Jr. sold soap and baking powder and stumbled on the value of gum while
giving it away for free. The gum proved to be more popular than his actual
product. Wrigley went on to manufacture his own chewing gum brand and today the
company makes billions in revenue and is one of the most recognizable brands in
· Instagram originally started as Burbn, a
check-in app that included gaming and photo elements. The creators of Burbn
were concerned that there was too much clutter and they’d never gain traction
in the marketplace so they took
away all the elements except photos. They built an app that focused solely on photography
and it’s been growing in popularity steadily
since it first debuted in 2010.
· Twitter started
as Odeo, which was a network where people could find and subscribe to podcasts; however, they ended up
moving toward a drastic change focused on a micro-blogging platform. It’s now one of the most popular mobile
social networking apps in the United States.
starting are about “let’s see” and “I’ll try.”
thing you should do is something new, especially if there’s no clear right
answer. Something new is often the right path when the world is complex.
And…you could be
wrong, but start anyway.