Can you remember what you dreamed of being as a child?
Can you recall all those things you wanted to be and do? Have you become them? Have you accomplished them?
I’d be willing to put a $1 million dollar bet on black on a roulette table that 99% of you haven’t. Why not? When did you stop following your dreams, or are you a shining example to us all, like Randy Pausch?
Thanks to some amazing young entrepreneurs I met in Costa Rica in 2009, I was told about this `must see’ video – Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving your childhood dreams. I talk about this in The Suitcase Entrepreneur book in Chapter 2.
It’s so worth the watch because as Randy says, it’s not actually about that at all, it’s about leading the life you want. And the life you wanted when you’re a kid is uninhibited by any acts of reality, any adult sensibility and free from too much knowledge that stifles creativity and action.
I’d like to thank Randy for also making me remember how much magic Walt Disney put in my life as a kid. I mean their slogan says it all: Walt Disney – where dreams come to life!
And just to prove it, there’s the iconic Mickey Mouse, arms wide open, huge smile on his face and welcoming the world and all it has to offer whilst also saying `Here I am folks, this is me and this is my life!’
So if you take away anything from this post, it’s this: never lose the childlike wonder in life.
If you don’t take my advice then take Randy’s, which is:
- Be good at something – it makes you valuable
- Work hard. What’s your `Secret’? “Call me at 10pm in my office and I’ll tell you….”
- Find the best in everybody. No matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.
- Be prepared. “Luck” is where preparation meets opportunity.
The other key takeaway for me that I learned from his candid, poignant and humorous lecture is this, and it’s especially relevant for us as entrepreneurs:
Brick walls are there for a reason. They let you prove how badly you want something.
They are there to show your dedication. Sometimes brick walls are flesh – as in they’re a person to overcome, an attitude or character.
I’ll never forget my Management 202 lecture at Victoria University of Wellington. This particular lecture was on leadership. “Managers manage and leaders lead by example” our lecturer said. Entrepreneurs are visionary leaders.
They don’t let obstacles get in their way. He asked us to visualize a large brick wall in the middle of the ampitheatre’s stage and then proceeded to run at it, crawl under it, jump over and get around it. He did this to prove to us that it’s just an obstacle, and if you want it bad enough you will overcome it, whatever your means.
I can’t tell you how true that is in life but especially in business. When I was the cofounder of FundRazr, if we’d stopped every time we hit a `perceived’ wall then we wouldn’t even have an application to launch!
Competitors came out of the wood work that we’d missed and shattered what we thought was unique to us. New technology was developed at a rapid pace that looked like it would target the same market as us.
Other companies were expanding into our area or failing before our very eyes. Investors wouldn’t invest, friends didn’t believe in our business model. We didn’t get past round 2 of competitions we entered. Facebook continually made platform changes that meant we had to change significant aspects of FundRazr’s functionality. It never stops.
The point is in the grand scheme of things, none of these barriers deterred us. Sure they’ve hit us hard, knocked our confidence and made us doubt what we’re doing. But then we simply took time out, stepped back, looked at the bigger picture, and searched for the opportunity that always comes out of adversity.
And then we took a ladder, crowbar, hammer or a giant swing and we got over that obstacle or took a different path to get back on track. And sometimes these obstacles served an even greater purpose, by having to change tack we found an even better course.
In the rousing words of Winston Churchill: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
And since this post is also about always remembering to be a kid, have fun, be curious and see the sense of wonder in life, then a more appropriate quote of the day that just appeared on my iGoogle page is: “There are two ways to pass a hurdle: leaping over or plowing through… There needs to be a monster truck option.” Jeph Jacques