Once upon a time many of us were told that we could be whoever we wanted to be and do whatever it is we wanted to do with our lives. While this in most cases is ultimately true, as we get older, we forget this. Our imaginations grow duller as we replace it with worldly knowledge. As we gain more responsibilities as adults, our priorities change to accommodate the choices that are the most likely to put roofs over our heads and food on our tables, convincing ourselves that our most imaginative ideas are too outlandish or risky to try out.
These ideas could be traveling across the world. Or starting a new business. Maybe adopting a child from an impoverished country. Or dropping your job to pursue something you really love. The best ideas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. But eventually, that nagging doubt creeps in, filling your mind with things you rather not think about it.
“What if I fail?”
“Why do I have to do it?”
“What will people think of me?”
“It’ll never work!”
“I’m just not good enough.”
First off, you need to stop defeating yourself so readily. Without putting an effort out, you’ll NEVER know what you’re capable of. We learn from our experiences and mistakes; not from considering what things may have been like if only we’d tried something.
Secondly, you’re not alone. We all wish we’d come up with the iPod. Or Facebook. Or even the Nike swoosh. But we didn’t. Instead, we’ve been entrusted with the skills we have, the bodies we live in and the ideas that are inside our heads. And with these, we must use what is already in our possession to do great things. Your daily activities can either get in the way of you reaching your potential, or help to supplement it.
I saw a video posted on Google+ the other day, and it’s a first step that we should all consider when we’re trying to take that first step into the unknown. It’s Simon Sinek’s presentation called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”.
Here, he proposes something called the Golden Circle. Starting from within, it sees us answering three questions: Why, How and What. In the scope of generating ideas, they refer to these three specific questions:
- Why do we want to do this?
- How will we do it?
- What will it be?
The problem that Simon outlines is that we too often try to tackle solving new problems by starting from outside — the WHAT. How many times have you decided to take a vacation somewhere because you’ve heard it’s nice, set your mind on it, went and came back disappointed because it wasn’t all that you’d expected? Or bought something because it’s all the new rage, only to discover that it doesn’t really add any new value to your life?
Too often do we consider the WHAT and not the WHY. Wouldn’t it be completely different if you’d had a compelling reason as to WHY you needed to take a trip? To see someone or to conquer a life goal? Or WHY you needed to buy something? To replace a broken model you already have or because you know it’s something that you can share with others to make their lives better? Look at how much we can wander down unfulfilling paths by trying to answer the wrong questions in life WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT.
To quote Simon, “It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it.”
So the next time you want to start something that’s out of your ordinary routine and could shake things up a little, keep these words in mind. Figure out your principles. Sort out what it is that makes you tick. Stick to your guns and do something special with your life. You only get one, so you may as well do it right the first… and ONLY time.
–Casey E. Palmer