Money is like an energy bar. It can be critical fuel to launch extraordinary efforts or leave us complacent and sedentary. The more one has the greater scale of the next adventure.
Those who have the most, can either protect the status quo or invest in bold quests. They can use money as firewalls or fuel. When we conceive an idea and it takes form we are willing to throw everything into it, all necessary capital and time. As the concept grows and fear of failure becomes more focused on the economic impact than our reputation headwinds increase. Consider Apple, they believe in thinking differently and challenging the status quo. Challenging the status quo is a far easier belief when Apple possessed but a toehold in the marketplace. When Apple became the market and set a new due north it requires challenging themselves. Being willing to invest in new ways of thinking that cut across large swaths of the current product line demands a lot of fuel and conviction (because that is what they did when they were the upstart).
Is your enterprise using money to build firewalls or to fuel your next bold exploration? How would those on the outside of your tribe define how you leverage success? What beliefs keeps you oriented to magnetic north?
A story highlighting the power of soldiers marching in-step caught my attention. As it turns out some soldiers are requested to ‘break step’ when marching over bridges. The genesis for this protocol can be traced back to an incident in 1826 where a British platoon marching in-step created sufficient vibrational resonance to structurally damage the Broughton Suspension Bridge. The incident has been repeated by the military foot soldiers of other nations.
It is a colorful example of the impact a small but well coordinated group can achieve. When we are connected to a common purpose and headed in the same direction, we do not need everyone to make ourselves more powerful. We need those who share a vision of a better future and are willing to coordinate their actions. Who is marching with you?
Bill Watterson, creator and chief philosopher of Calvin and Hobbes fame is a remarkable example of staying aligned with ones purpose. He ended artistic production of his comic strip at the pinnacle, pole position in the funny section in every newspapers. He wished to control the future of his art and its application. His followers were shocked. It was as if the sitcom Seinfeld called it a career after season five and had foregone syndication. Bill’s work on Calvin and Hobbes continues to be a source of inspiration, finding itself the thread that weaves together life’s lessons.
Bill’s recent interview with Mental_Floss is illuminating. The upcoming movie Dear Mr. Watterson, scheduled for release on November 15, 2013 should continue to expand the adventure.
Most inspiring is the care with which Bill took to stay true to his beliefs. The money and fame were growing exponentially yet he chose purpose and that made his art even more precious.
Does an idea have to be disruptive to be remarkable? Said differently, does a new concept have to shake our conventional assumptions sufficiently to the point that we must comment? Is disruption always progress?
Apple released a new and enhanced line of products this week. The reviews I read focus on how disruptive the new features and design are to the consumer’s current experience. This form of disruption is deemed as positive. Consumers were generally satisfied with the current model but now the new versions offers innovation worthy disrupting our habits and considering change.
When I travel and the TSA changes a security screening procedure, disruption can be challenging. I memorize the routine as a frequent flier. I recognize that shoes are placed into a bin on the x-ray belt but suddenly they needed to be placed directly onto belt without a bin. This form of disruption is unsettling. Perhaps it leads to greater efficiency or more effective screening but it also can be frustrating.
Knowing what is and what is not worthy of disruption reinforces or erodes trust and loyalty. Remarkable is not always great. If you build a tribe of followers who share a core belief they will endure disruptions as long as it enhances the organization’s dreams.
If you want to confirm your purpose, the appearance of a sudden opportunity is a great test. If your purpose is all about adventure then a “drop everything” decision for a new adventure is an easy decision. However, if your purpose involves systematic steps and planning, then “drop everything” will trip your decision-making circuit breakers. What would you say “yes” to without hesitation (do not confuse fear and purpose)- why not give it a try?
What is remarkable about Fred Roger’s testimony to the US Senate in 1969 is how he captured the committee’s sense of purpose and aligned it with his in the name of doing great things for the benefit of children.
Be precise. Be specific. Be transparent. Believe. Be prepared for those who are looking to join a cause just like yours. The more you wobble from your center the more energy you use to stay upright. Keep up the inspired journey!
What inspires you? Even if you only catch a glimpse? What is that place that brings your essential beliefs forward? How often do you visit this place? How far from your best do you drift between visits? For each of us, we have a touchstone that provides clarity and connects us back to our core beliefs. Why do we allow ourselves to drift when we are not in the presence of greatness? The quote by Rene Daumal, “what is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above,” implores us to ascend. Summit moments regain our highest purpose and much is revealed.
Seth Godin shared a simply reminder that our best results come from making better decisions. The simple equation we run in the background each moment is to align our purpose with the decisions we make. The results can be remarkable.
purpose + better decisions = inspired action
What remarkable actions are you looking to experience? What do you need to clarify further in order to more consistently experience remarkable actions?
I have included links to recommended resources for each element of the equation.
When you discover your purpose do you look for challenges to amplify your passion.