2007: What a year. I remember sitting in my bedroom listening to Sean Kingston’s debut album that my best friend Nicholas Cobb got me for my birthday. I knew most of the bops on the CD, Beautiful girl, Take you there, Dry your eyes… the ones you would blast in the car when your mom would let you (thanks mom for having a good radio in the car). The one song that I didn’t know on the CD was the last one, Change. This song, maybe more than any other, is still the one that I find myself singing in the back of my head almost every day. “Oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world; but I’m just one man trying to do it on my own.”
My chapters this week start out with the idea of “life’s little light bulbs.” Those moments in life where it seems like everything comes together. That’s what Sean Kingston’s quote did for me. At first, it was difficult to think about, because he was right, I was just one person trying to change the world… what could i accomplish? Then, even in 7th grade, where it seemed like all I thought about was girls and how my hair looked, I was able to turn that mindset into a positive one. I was just one person, but that meant if I was always trying to change the world, at least someone was.
Chapter 10 speaks about the idea of always thinking like a beginner. Regardless of if you are actually a beginner or a 20 year vet in your business who everyone thinks knows the ropes. Forcing yourself to think like a beginner always leaves the door open to learn; learn something maybe you need to. The mindset of a beginner allows you to focus on the simple, because nothing is too small when you are beginning. You want to pick up every bit of information you can, right? Once you start getting into your groove, you look for the conventional things, not the obvious; we want to find the complex, and completely disregard the simple. Thinking like a beginner is thinking with curiosity where you see things like anew. Thinking like a beginner gives you the power.
Chapter 11… well it’s a weird one. “Strange bedfellows make great partners.” When i read this title, I’m not going to lie, I almost skipped over the chapter and onto the next. While I still think it is a weird chapter title, I am glad I didn’t skip it. The chapter speaks about the importance of allowing yourself/someone to be wrong. In the book, the authors relate it to business products and how customers give feedback. For me, I relate it to those people who constantly tell you that you can’t do something. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. Does it matter? Maybe I can’t run a 5 minute mile anymore, but I can still run. Maybe I will not be President, but maybe I will be Mayor. Maybe I can’t change the world, but maybe one day I’ll change someones. My point is, maybe sometimes being wrong is the right outcome. Why should we dwell on outcomes if we gave it everything we had and grew from the experience? Maybe…. one man is enough.
I hope I didn’t lose you with all of those “maybes,” because chapter 12 is important. “Take risks…not chances.” Robert Kriegel speaks about his research into the idea of taking risks. His studies show, that most people in the professional world are not thinking of an idea and just going for it… they aren’t taking chances. Instead, they are taking calculated risks that have years of research and planning behind them that support the percentage of a positive outcome. This, to me, sounds more like an advancement, with the chance of a stumble.
I could go on forever about this chapter, but what I think is the most relevant is this: Risk takers and people who actually make differences in this world aren’t a “special breed” or born that way. We are all born to make a difference. Research will show that we learn the most in the first 5 years of our life. In that span, we probably make the most mistakes as well. I don’t see that as a coincidence. When we take risks, we learn; whether it be from failing or succeeding.
As I continue to write this blog post I can’t help but hear Sean Kingston in the background, “oh I wish I had the power, the power to change the world; but I’m just one man trying to do it on my own.” I think Sean almost had it right, if he would have just left out the word “but.” We all are but one individual. Strike that, we are all one individual; we can all change the world. Maybe it’s the world, maybe it’s someone’s world, and maybe it is your world. So, I ask you, what are you doing to change the world?
-Colin Lane Croat