The Path to Personal Invention

September 10, 2007

The path to personal invention begins by answering this question:

If you knew you would not fail, what would you do right now?

The next step comes when you have the courage to do that very thing anyway, with no guarantees, no promises, no idea where that path is going to lead.

So, sit down. Take a minute to reflect. Write your answer out. Share it with someone. Talk about it.

And then, ask yourself if you have the guts to go for it.

If not, what’s in your way?

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10 Responses to “The Path to Personal Invention”

  1. Adam Salamon Says:

    That quote is one of my favorites. I love how you link it to personal invention becuase personal invention takes guts.

    Jump and the safety net will appear.

  2. Tiffany Says:

    Yes, it introduced itself into my life this weekend in one of those get-to-know-people ice breaker type things. And it’s stuck with me, echoing around since then.

  3. Ryan Paugh Says:

    My favorite part about that question is, once you’ve answered it and chosen to take the leap, you’ve earned a stronger mindset that tells you “failure is not an option.”

  4. Tiffany Says:

    Ryan,
    I totally agree. It’s so funny how fear can turn into motivation, if you just interject action into the process instead of remaining where you are.

  5. Mick Says:

    Taking it a step further into the analysis of the “fear” – we often don’t take the time to identify the details of the worst-case scenario should we fail. If/when we do that, we realize that the ultimate failure in most (professional) endeavors would result in a situation that we could a)actually tolerate or b) easily recover from.

    Tim Ferris works through this issue in his book, which I’ve been reading lately.

  6. Tiffany Says:

    Mick,
    I totally agree – most potential failure isn’t that bad. I think we just don’t like to rationally analyze fear and take failure through to its logical conclusions. When we do, we can realize what’s really at stake. And more times than not, it’s nothing too huge.

    You have to ask yourself – is NOT taking that risk worth things staying the same and you never doing anything remarkable?

    When you have both endgames in mind (for continuing on the path of no resistance versus taking the risk of stepping on the path of personal invention) it’s a bit easier to step out there and go for it!

    Glad you’re enjoying the book. I’m picking up a copy today to take on an upcoming business trip. Can’t wait to dig in!

  7. Mick Says:

    Hi Tiffany,

    You are absolutely right. This whole analysis truly fascinates me. We all know people (sometimes we ARE the people) who stagnate in a miserable situation and refuse to take the initiative to improve their lot. Failure to act/take a chance is almost always the greatest risk. And it IS always the greatest risk when we are unhappy in our current condition.

    The act of taking the leap is such a liberating experience that I suspect most who do never regret it. There is soo much to be learned and gained from the experience, even if you don’t necessarily end up where you initially intended.

  8. Tiffany Says:

    It’s amazing to see where risk-takers end up. Many times, it’s not where they expected, but regardless, it’s better than where they were -because now they have knowledge and experience that they never could have gotten any other way.

    Take blogging, for example. For me, at the beginning of this year, I saw this all as a huge risk. There seemed to be so much at stake. I languished in the realm of the unread and unwritten for months dealing with the fear. Then, I decided to be bold, take a risk, step out there, and go for it. And who knows where it will end up. Even where I am now is not something I ever comprehended just months ago.

    I never would have imagined having the opportunity to form relationships with and engage in conversation with some of the most revolutionary thinkers of our time! Now, even more doors of opportunity seem to await – and even more paths. In the past, that would have meant more fears. But now, maybe I don’t think about opportunities in the same way. Getting past that one fear has changed my perspective on so many things. Now, it’s a matter of picking which door (since I don’t have time to tackle them all!)

  9. Mick Says:

    Great point about doors opening with each new step we take forward. It’s always interesting to see just how many opportunities are created when we embrace personal “risk.” I really enjoyed chatting with you today – I will certainly be visiting often.

  10. elysa Says:

    What a scary question. I think I need to write that on a post it and stick to my mirror. I know I’ve heard it before but it doesn’t ever lose its power.

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