I am a big fan of counter-intuitive thinkers and writers . . . people like Chris Guillebeau in The Art of Non-Conformity, Daniel Pink in The Flip Manifesto, or Dan Ward in The Radical Elements of Radical Success (hard to find, but worth the effort) . . . because they make us pause and reconsider how we look at the challenges before us. Such authors, in effect, encourage us to pull back the curtain on the expectations, the logic, the “have-to’s” that box in our thoughts and actions, and limit our sense of possibility.
Maybe it’s time to pull back the curtain on business as usual for your organization. How? Passionate focus, and strong-willed dedication.
While passionate focus may sound like something we all aspire to, far too often it gets watered down by the pressure to be “realistic”, by “extenuating circumstances”, or by the rules/expectations/money of those who ultimately want to keep us in a box of their making. Passionate focus really is much harder than it sounds. Dan Ward refers to such people — those with a single-minded devotion to a big goal — as “monomaniacs”, and he notes that because of the energy they devote to that goal, they often discover “the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” I love that! Most of us stop in the midst of the complexity because, well, it’s really complex. What might happen if we didn’t dilute our big, hairy audacious goal . . . if we continued to fuel our passion through the complexity to get to the simplicity on the other side?
Of course, that would take a healthy measure of strong-willed determination. Because I can pretty well guarantee that along the path to achieving your ultimate goal, you are going to run into a whole host of “no’s”, and rabbit trails, and a brick walls . . . things that cause many logical people, with a less clearly defined focus, to turn back. Strong-willed determination doesn’t mean you don’t stumble, just that you will get up, every time, on the way to your goal. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to refine the plan along the way, it simply means that you don’t stop short of the goal.
Yes, there will be those who pat you on the head and call you an idealist. My advice when you run into them . . . just smile sweetly, pull back the curtain on “conventional wisdom”, and press on.