South Slope. Asheville.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Few Revolutions Succeed

This was a fun, go-to motivational book I read in the '90s.  If you're wanting to think out of the box, this is a good one.  The  excerpt above is one I bookmarked!
Benjamin Franklin is also quoted a lot in Jump Start Your Brain.  Franklin had started a Junto club as a means to generate ideas and gain knowledge.  When I was living in Thailand, I thought a lot about starting a Junto group or a Men's group, where some of my expat friends and I could meet regularly for this purpose.  But it only remained an idea!
At age twenty-one, he formed a “club of mutual improvement” called the Junto. It was a grand scheme to gobble up knowledge. He invited working-class polymaths like him to have the chance to pool together their books and trade thoughts and knowledge of the world on a regular basis. They wrote and recited essays, held debates, and devised ways to acquire currency. Franklin used the Junto as a private consulting firm, a think tank, and he bounced ideas off the other members so he could write and print better pamphlets. Franklin eventually founded the first subscription library in America, writing that it would make “the common tradesman and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries,” not to mention give him access to whatever books he wanted to buy. - source

More excerpts I recorded from Jump Start Your Bain in the mid '90s:

The Courage to Face Fear 

Most everyone wants to live on the edge.  Maybe the feeling is deep down, but it’s there.  Most everyone would like to be out front, the very best.  But the only way to know for sure you’re on the edge is to slip over it.  You can’t itch your way to it and peek over.  You have to step out front and fall a few times.  Success doesn’t happen without failure. 

Do not labor under the assumption that the safe way is to do nothing.  Standing still is not a realistic option.  You can’t afford to maintain the status quo. 

It’s as risky to maintain the status quo as it is to reach for the new and bold.  In the first case, you can get run over.  In the second, you have a chance to swing for the fence. 

The only way to a get a significantly different result is to do something significantly different. 

High 5 of Fears 

  1. FEAR of being laughed
The fear of ridicule causes us to build walls between ourselves and the world.  It prevents us from asking questions so won’t appear foolish.  It keeps us from taking on new and different pursuits because we might fall on our faces.  It discourages us from reaching out and revealing our true selves because we might be rejected.  It ties our hands, clamps our mouths shut, and closes our minds. 

Being laughed at is a sign of potential genius.  Think of Franklin in a thunderstorm, the Wright brothers on the beach at Kitty Hawk, Edison with his light bulbs, Ted Turner with his Cable News Network.

  1. FEAR of losing what we have
The people in the middle are trying to coast.  They often play not to lose instead of playing to win.  They are the ostriches of the human race.  They create elaborate justifications for their lack of action and forward motion.  The result is disillusionment.  Which leads to twisting in the wind, which in turn leads to certain death.

  1. Fear of rejection

The fear of rejection grows stronger as we become adults.  Instead of speaking our minds, we become conditioned to sit on them.  After a while, we stop trying. 

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. 

Finding the courage means you believe in what you’re doing and that you are secure in your ability to go do something else, that you’re not afraid to take it to the monster.  Finding the courage means you’re not afraid of getting kicked out, knowing you’d land on your feet if you did.

  1. FEAR of the unknown 

Many of us lack initial courage because we think we need to have every step choreographed before we embark on the adventure.  We want a detailed road map with a clearly focused beginning, middle, and final destination, along with a synopsis of all the roadside tests and comfort stations.  Sorry.  It doesn’t work that way.  America’s westward migration is an example. 

If you want to be great, you must learn to live with uncertainty.  You have to have faith in your ability to adapt and react.  Ignorance of the future is not a sign of stupidity – it’s part of the human condition. 

  1. FEAR of exposure

It’s is one of the most crippling forms of dread, the fear that a deep-seated insecurity will be dragged out into the light of day.  “I’m not (smart, creative, tall, good-looking, fill in the blank) enough.” 

Identifying your fears is the first step to freeing yourself from them.   

High 5 of Courage 

  1. Look to teammates
Your spouse, for example.  If you don’t have a mutually supportive relationship, get the relationship fixed.  Never, ever set sail on a grand adventure without the support of your spouse.  This person must be a portrait of faith and support.  Anything short of it will deflate your oomph, drain your energy, and puncture your balloon. 

  1. Taking action
Fear is often a mirage arising from your own uncertainties.  Take action.  Any action is better than standing still.  In most cases, if you challenge your fear through action, you’ll find it’s not nearly as formidable as you thought. 

  1. Covering your bets
Entrepreneurs are not daredevils.  They don’t take long shots.  Rather, they reduce fear by covering their bets.   

Figure out fallback positions in the event the initial plan falls flat. 

Be the best.  When you take the high ground and create something of genuine value, you’ll be strengthened.  If an idea is true, if it’s not of dubious value, you’ll be more apt to have the courage to see it through.  The best ideas are those that bring out the idealist in you. 

  1. Replaying Success
Visualize previous wins

Recall the Great Ones – Let a hero be your guide

  1. Burst the Worst
What is the worst that could happen?  Think about it, write it down, articulate it.  How bad could it get?  Then deal with it.

Don’t fear fear.  Make it your friend.  It prevents complacency.  It will make you reach inside yourself and stretch your potential.

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