Confession time…I occasionally keep the TV on in the background, while I work.
Which is why a little while back, I found myself drawn into an interview with Will Smith.
He was being asked how his marriage has stayed together for 10 years, which is the Hollywood equivalent of 50. And, his response was something like, “because we don’t give ourselves the option of NOT being together. We know at some point someone’s going to say something really offensive or stupid, but we know we are staying together, we don’t give ourselves the option of not being together, so we HAVE to work it out.”
It’s the power of no exit.
I also call it the desert island scenario. Imagine you are stuck on a desert island with someone you absolutely despise. The rest of the world does not exist and you have no hope, not even an inkling of rescue.
It’s just you and them…forever.
In the beginning, it’s pretty likely that you’d both go your own ways, but over time, with nobody else to be social with, to connect with and who knows what else, you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up friends. In fact, you’d likely end up very close. Because you HAD to be, the only other option was a lifetime of loneliness.
Now translate this to business.
One of the folks I interviewed for my book was a guy named David Riklan who founded a giant online personal development portal called Self Growth.
David wasn’t always in the business of personal development publishing, though. In fact, he’d had a long time career as a high-level technology sales exec. There came a time, though, when he was living a double career, sales by day and personal development by night.
And, he had to make a choice.
Roll with the latter in order to give it a shot at truly taking off or resign himself to life in high tech sales for decades to come. And, because he also had a family to support and a very modest financial cushion, living in austerity while his next venture grew simply wasn’t an option.
So, when he made the leap, in his mind, he HAD to succeed.
There was no exit. He went “all in” and approaching the challenge in that manner was immensely powerful in fueling the steps and actions that pushed him to succeed. Because, in his mind, returning to life as a sales exec was simply not on the table.
When you have a fallback and you hold that regularly in your consciousness, it can become as much of a roadblock as it is a comfort. Because it stops you from pushing yourself that final step, from doing those thousand little extra things that propel you toward mega-success. The ones that take massive effort, yet yield even greater reward. These are the actions you take when you perceive success to be your only palatable option.
As Goethe put it:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.
The challenge is, in this modern world of options, with exits at every turn, we sometimes allow ourselves the luxury of bailing on a quest that, endured just a bit longer, or pursued more zealously would have yielded life-altering triumph.
So, is it a bad thing to have knowledge, skills and abilities that you can fall back upon, should things not work out?
Of course not. Because those very qualities often give you the confidence to “initiate” a change in course. But, once that new path has begun, it is far better to put your fallback as far out of your mind as possible and get down to the business of working like you had no exit.
So, what do you think?
Is this powerful…or completely unrealistic?
What am I missing?
POSTED IN: Conscious living | 07/23/08
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