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All ideas are fragile

“And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.” -Jonathan Ive at the Steve Jobs Tribute on the Apple campus.

The potential usefulness of ideas should never be discounted merely because of the existence of counterexamples and creative challenges.

An idea doesn’t have to be applicable to everything in order to be applicable to some things.

If “yes, but…,” followed by the citation of some condition towards which an idea fails to apply, were sufficient grounds for the dismissal of every new proposal, all progress would be impossible.

Ideas must be groomed by our willingness to think critically and creatively about how we can get the most out of them. 

Their value, often disguised as vulnerability, has to be cultivated with patience and persistence.

There are no powerful ideas without powerful people.

All ideas are fragile. It’s only our willingness to work with them that makes them strong.

Professional Optimism

“I get it, it’s nice up here. You could just shut down all the systems, turn down all the lights, just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. What’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died, it doesn’t get any rougher than that. It’s still a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go then you just gotta get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride, you gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start living life. Hey, Ryan, it’s time to go home.” -Matt Kowalski, Gravity

Some days seem to be better than others.

The recognition that those days count as much as any other is the essence of professionalism.

A professional is someone who knows that he doesn’t have to feel good in order to do good.

In this interview with Behind the Brand, Mike Rowe advises, “don’t follow your passion, but always bring it along.”

A professional knows that inspiration won’t always take the lead. No success story ever begins or ends with “I never felt uninspired.” Turning pro is about recognizing that moods, like seasons, move in cycles, and that the temporary absence of enthusiasm doesn’t have to mean the absence of effort.

In The Hunger Angel, Herta Müller wrote: “To combat death you don’t need much of a life, just one that isn’t yet finished.”

Meaningful work, including the inner work of personal development, can always be done. The decision to plant one’s feet on the ground and put one foot in front of the other is neither cheapened nor trivialized by a lack of emotional fanfare.

Freedom is not something we can fully experience merely by passively inhaling the universe’s air. Freedom must be chosen.  It must be embodied and expressed as the “the will to live.”

For the professional optimist, “I will” precedes “I feel.”

Drive ’em crazy

Langston-hughes-bday

Langston Hughes wrote:

“Looks like what drives me crazy don’t have no effect on you. But I’m gonna keep on at it ‘till it drives you crazy, too.”

In poetry, Langston Hughes discovered both the philosopher’s stone and the fountain of youth.

Through the rhythmic interplay of word and feeling, he created worlds of magic that lifted him above the sorrows of his time.

To his chagrin, there was one too many who failed to resonate with his passion for the alchemical art of transforming hopelessness into happiness.

Yet, Hughes’ message to them was clear and decisive:

I will not conform to you. Instead, I will influence you into conformity with me.

I refuse to be discouraged by the apathy, cynicism, and quiet desperation of those who are not set ablaze by the fires of creativity.

I shall be relentless in my devotion to that which arouses me, and in doing so, I will eventually arouse you too.

I don’t know if Hughes’ strategy worked on them, but it worked on me.

Thank you, Langston Hughes.

You somehow managed to transcend time again and now you’ve driven me crazy.

I hope I can do the same to someone else.

And even if I don’t, I promise you that I’m gonna keep on at it too.

Sincerely,

T.K. Coleman

Keep Shooting!

Disclaimer: this is another NBA playoff inspired blog post. But even if you’re not a sports fan, hang in there. You still may get some value from this.

One of the rising young stars of this year’s post-season is 25-year old Golden State Warriors point-guard Steph Curry.

In only his fourth year of professional basketball, Steph is already considered by many to be one of the greatest shooters of all-time.

Last season, he shot 45% from the three-point line while breaking the single season record for most three-point shots made.

In yesterday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, none of that seemed to matter.

Curry’s shot lacked its characteristic accuracy.

Nevertheless, he kept shooting.

At one point, one of the television commentators said the following:

“The thing about Steph Curry is that he keeps shooting even when he’s having a bad game. He’s so confident in his shot that he knows he’ll eventually find his groove if he just stays at it.”

And that’s precisely what Curry did; he stayed at it, found his groove, scored eight consecutive points, and led his team to a late comeback victory.

Here’s today’s two cents:

Keep shooting.

Keep shooting for your dreams. Keep shooting for a better life. Keep shooting for higher possibilities.

Even when you fall short, even when your rhythm is off, even when you’re having a rough stretch, keep shooting until you find your groove.

As long as there is time on the clock, take another shot.

At least that’s the way I see it (until Steph Curry stops making shots like a maniac).

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

P.S. One of the reasons why Steph Curry is so confident in his shot is because he practices relentlessly. His confidence is based on competence and his competence is based on commitment. If you’re committed to being your best, then it’ll eventually payoff when you keep doing your best.

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