Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fail Early, Fail Often

As I read "Making Things Happen" by Scott Belsky, I found out that Seth Godin, a prolific author who creates many products, attributes his success to the fact that he "ships". He doesn't wait around to see if an idea is perfect or not, he executes the idea and ships it out to see the results.

The fact is, he fails much more often than he succeeds.

I'm reminded in this lesson of many of us who have a fear of success. There are many things around the fear of success that are intangible.

Could that fear really be fear of failure?

In order to find success, we must risk the possibility of failure. A baseball player fails 70% of the time. A great basketball player misses 50% of his/her three pointers. Seth Godin claims that his failures far outweigh his successes.

What if we approached success with the full knowledge that failure is imminent? What if we looked at failure as inevitable, even desirable. Knowing the percentages, we will encounter success only with a good dose of failure mixed in.

And we can let go of our attachment to our perfection so that failure loses its emotional charge as a bad thing. If failure is actually a badge of honor and a positive attribute that opens the door to success, will we be more likely to embrace opportunities that might result in failure?

It is this change of perspective that will free me from paralysis by analysis. It is the new paradigm of "failure is my friend" that will create the opportunities for my full potential of success.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

How To Win Friends

I'm working on a live online program using the classic "How To Win Friends And Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Tim Burgess requested this program to conduct for his clients. This book was written in 1936 and is as relevant today.

Today I am assembling the first two weeks of guides for the actual group discussions. This is always very exciting for me, because it is the time that I intuitively bring together the most insightful quotes from the book, and my intense questions that will be the springboard for the participants to discover their unique wisdom.

As is usually the case, I have more material than is appropriate for the time allotted for each call.

This is an powerful book which I wish I had read when I was 20 years old. I can only imagine the difference it would have made in my life! It is already making a difference in my ability to accomplish things in my life.

Because we can do a little when we work alone, but great things are possible when we work together...

Monday, September 13, 2010

I got a rock 2.0

After playing with rocks for an afternoon, I was truly content. I had fun. Rocks to me are treasures. I keep stacks of them in my yard, 3 and 4 feet high. I feel wealthy when I have piles of rocks.

I'm guessing that not everyone feels that way about rocks. As a matter of fact, I've heard some people curse them, as they seem to multiply in their yard, only to reach out for an ankle or a mower blade.

Perhaps this is the epitome of looking for the good in things. A rock is meaningless until a human gives it beauty or usefulness or distain.

This is a great opportunity to look at how I see the other rocks in my life. Do I look for the beauty and fun in all the aspects of my life? Is the detritus of my life mentally rejected and discarded as ugly and useless? Or can I find the beuaty of things and situations in a new context?

My rocks only acquire beauty and wealth in the presence of the context that I create for them. I can also accept the negative or positive context that someone else is only too happy to hand me.

My choice....


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I got a rock....

"I got a rock," I said as I got in the car. In my hand was a rock with a hole in it that was at my feet as I finished the stone arch.

I often use that line from Peanuts' "The Great Pumpkin" cartoon wherein Charlie Brown gets a rock at every house when they are Trick-or-treating. He sounds so disappointed, but I love rocks. I can spend hours in a creek playing with rocks, looking at rocks, collecting rocks, skipping rocks.

Today was just such a day. Exploring a tiny little state park in Northern Kentucky that wad gifted by a couple who had enjoyed the beautiful serenity of this patch of peace, I found myself at the shore of the Licking River about 50 miles from its joining the Ohio River.

The dearth of rainfall left many rocks exposed, including a lot of thin large rocks that are ideal for so many fun activities, as mentioned above. So I got a rock to stand on edge, stacked rocks into an arch a la Andy Goldsworthy, and as much fun as I can have with a pile of rocks.

The arch was the first one that I had built, ever, and I was so excited to see it still standing after removing all the supporting stones. The arch defied gravity, weight, and assumptions about its construction.

Though Andy always records his work on "film", I was sans digital imagers. On the way to the park we had driven through a downpour, so I left the cell phone in the car.

One of Andy's hallmark is that some of his work is intentionally temporary, which emphasizes the process rather than the product. So leaving the arch and the large standing rocks in the center of the river bed would ensure that their tenacious balance would be quickly eroded by rising waters. The only witness to my creative energy and process would be a few neurons in our brains that would capture a fading image of stone constructs.

Then again, perhaps the image will become more vivid and fantastic with time. My choice....

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See the next blog for the metaphysical meaning....