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August 25, 2011

I just devoured Seth Godin’s book, Poke the Box.  It is a great book about the topic of starting.  Starting is something we lack in our culture, it is the innovation of an idea and the initiative to ship it to the people.  Whether you are looking to start something big or just wanting to make your situation better, this book is a great read.

The book speaks on fear and failure a great deal.  Seth stated, “If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count.”  That statement sounds a lot like Don Miller’s Volvo comment.  Miller stated that if all we want at the end of the day is a Volvo then we’re probably living a bad  (and boring) story.  More and more I am hearing that a good life, full of good stories, is a life that is filled with anticipation, risk, conflict and resolve.  That for life to really count it has to cost something, it has to have something weighing in the balance.  Ideas like that are hard to swallow for all the co-dependents, the people-pleasers, and the overall nice people who enjoy nice things. We want the ocean without the sharks, friendships without the fallout and projects that are fail proof.

It is difficult to hear that successful people, “have a personal standard that demands failure, not one that guarantees success.”  We look at successful people and forget the endless amount of bad days it took to get them across the finish line.  If we hold back our ideas (due to fear), we end up robbing the world of something good, something to process, something to use.  Godin’s point is that it’s not good enough to be inventive and clever unless you actually put that idea in motion and give it to people.

To actually start something and give it away can create anxiety.  To actually start something and put your work out there is to dive head first into your fears and worries.  He defines anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.”  Such a cogent way of putting it, isn’t it?  We allow anxiety to hold back some of our strongest and most brilliant ideas. We are terrified of failure.  And because we are so afraid, we need books like this one to motivate and also invite us to start something worth finishing.

If you have ideas that stay in your brain and never see the light of day, please pick up this book.












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