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I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
-- Ernest Hemingway


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Not long ago, I was given the go-ahead to interview some amazing people. One of them, when I asked what he did for a living, told me that he liked to stretch people into uncomfortability along the direction that he thought they needed to go. Without his nudge, they probably wouldn't change.

Stretching is uncomfortable. People generally don't like doing it. But it makes us more limber, improves our strength, and is actually gentle.

A lot of us, to get in shape, rely on others to help and motivate us. A coach, a trainer, a friend, a video, a song...

We want others to encourage us.

Kathy Sierra's stagnant but brilliant blog, Creating Passionate Users, had a wonderful post about risk-aversion.

One of the benefits of having a scary illness or major loss is that it reminds you of just how much time is ticking away, and that you always have options to make changes. If you have a great idea, what do you risk by not persuing it? Will you have more regrets if you try and fail than if you don't try at all? Some of the best and biggest ideas happen within the scope of large companies, but some of the most world-changing happen... elsewhere.
Sometimes, outside influences force us to stretch. The world changes, and we respond. (I write this as I listen to Bonnie Raitt croon, "I Don't Want Anything to Change." Funny coincidence...)

Wayne Gretzky said so correctly, "You miss 100% of the shots you never take."

"But what if I miss?" is the whisper inside our heads, at times, when we want to stretch out in a new direction. "What if others see me fail?"

There's a danger in wanting others to encourage us. It beckons for approval. But here's the deal, which Kathy says in her post: "If you're not doing something that someone hates, it's probably mediocre."

Mediocre never changes the world.

So stretch... and stretch... and stretch. And stretch those around you. And never give up. The more at-bats you have, the more likely you are to hit a home run.

Annette recently wrote of persistence and a willingness to allow for temporary failure:

How many times would you let your baby try to walk? Of course the answer is, my baby is going keep trying to walk until he succeeds. No wonder you see so many people up walking around. Let's try this with ourselves. Keep trying until we succeed.


by Brett Rogers, 7/22/2007 3:45:04 PM


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