There are a lot of things I haven’t done.
Let me re-phrase that. There are a lot of things I had the idea to do, planned on doing, then just didn’t follow through with it. (There are even more things I haven’t done that I haven’t thought of doing yet.)
There are a lot of things I have done.
So, have I done things because I’ve thought of a lot of things to do, and at least some of them have happened? Does the principle that the guy with the most home runs has the most strike-outs apply here? Or he who has the highest number of stolen bases also get thrown out the most?
Does a lot of success necessarily mean a lot of failure?
I saw a quote today that says, “Success and failure. We think of them as opposites, but they’re really not. They’re companions – the hero and the sidekick.” by Laurence Shames
To me, that means that in order to do great things, you need to do a lot of things.
And the way to do a lot of things is to get the ideas from your head out into reality, so they have some form and substance.
And the way to do that is to write.
That’s why blogging is so good for you.
Fear of failure is overrated.
You’re likely not going to get fired over trying something new and radical. So it’s not really failure that people are afraid of, it’s blame, criticism.
This is another great topic that Seth Godin elaborates on in his book Tribes.
He says that we’re afraid to launch that new idea or product or presentation because we’re worried, deep down, that someone will hate it and call us on it. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” “What a waste of money.” “Who’s responsible for this?”
Sometimes the criticism doesn’t have to be that obvious. The fear of hearing “I’m surprised you launched this without doing more research” is enough to get many people to do a lot more research, to study something to death, and then kill it. Hey, at least you didn’t get criticized.
Seth admits, getting a bad book review hurts his feelings, and it is about enough to ruin his day. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough to ruin his day because his book got noticed. He realizes that a bad review is a badge of honor because it means that he confounded expectations – he did something worth remarking on.
So the challenge, as you contemplate your next opportunity to be boring or remarkable, is to answer these two questions:
1. If I get criticized for this, will I suffer any measurable impact other than feeling bad about the criticism? If so, how does that feeling compare with the benefits from actually doing something worth doing? Being remarkable is exciting, fun, profitable, and great for your career. Feeling bad wears off. If you’ve decided to take the remarkable path, answer this one:
2. How can I create something that critics will criticize?