What’s the last great idea that you had?
What did you do with it?
Most people have some great ideas, but don’t have the tools to bring ideas to fruition. Few people seek out the tools, and even fewer align themselves with the right people to take the next step. One would think that not having the right tools, or lacking access to be around the right people is the problem. One might think that some people have natural talent to start a business, create a product, or sell a service. One might even think that some people are just lucky. Some people look at opportunities like they are open doors, waiting for the step in, while others view opportunities like boulders on a hill, waiting to crush them.
But you and I both know that’s not true.
The major differentiator between people who take their great idea and do something with it, and the people who just opine about great ideas is actually just effort (with a healthy dose of bravery baked in, of course).. It’s observable, the way that some people apply effort. Also observable is the way that effort seems to be a universal output throughout a person’s life. What this means is that it’s observable that the effort one puts out in some things is usually indicative of the effort one puts out in all things.
If this is true, then are some people just destined for failed projects and foiled plans? I don’t think so.
I think that effort can be the fruit of cultivated discipline.
Let’s begin exploring the concept of observable behaviors. As a Certified Professional Behavior Analyst, I spend a lot of time observing people in their natural behavior patterns. For some people, natural behavior patterns open them up to a world of opportunity and optimism, and potentially disappointment and being taken advantage of. For other people, every problem is a nail, as they have been fully equipped with a hammer. Aggression and dominance are natural patterns. Other people are questioning, inquisitive, and sometimes trapped in analysis paralysis. For every exquisite talent that comes naturally, there lies a potential blind spot. It is perfectly observable, the way people behave. Learning from the observations is a skill we all do well to cultivate.
In the same vein of cultivation of skill lies the cultivation of discipline. Recognizing that effort, when targeted, can change the trajectory of most anything, we do well to practice a discipline in targeting our own efforts towards that which we desire, rather than that which comes easily or distracts from reality.
A degree of bravery is required at times. Some of the work that we find ourselves engaged in, whether we are leading an organization as the CEO, or leveraging our dispositional leadership in other ways, it can feel like we are pushing a boulder up a hill. A very large hill. In order to push the boulder up the hill and apply effort towards difficult things, knowing what’s waiting on the other side matters. Holding on to the awareness of what’s on the other side of the effort matters. Recognizing what you’re moving away from matters. Everything matters. The effort it takes to move the boulders in our lives is of great importance, and seeking ways to target our efforts effectively is critical. When all you see is boulder, pushing can seem thankless. Knowing where, and when to apply effort is important. Knowing whom to be pushing alongside is important as well.
I don’t think people are lucky.
I don’t think things happen by chance.
I venture to think that our effort, observable behaviors, and bravery to look at both greatly influence the way that we do hard things.
When it comes to pushing boulders, I’d trust she who leads more than she who sits by waiting for a better boulder.