I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

Samuel Clements

This morning whilst trying to motivate myself at 5AM EST to work out and lift weights i had a thought:

We almost never think big enough in our endeavors and when we think we are thinking big enough we hear the word: “No” in some form or fashion.

After finally willing myself to workout I walked into my living room where i have some music stuff and this poster is one of my most prized possessions.  It was given to me when i was leaving apple.  

It was one of only three made during the famous “Here’s To The Crazy Ones” Campaign from Apple:

Here’s To The Crazy Ones Video

You might know the narrator of the video.  He was a college drop out and was fired from the company he founded.  Many miss him as I do miss him.  Why is this important?

Let us whittle this back some more. i was thinking when we picture ourselves doing something or in the process of doing something do we stop short of our truest desires?  Better yet if we have a passion why don’t we go after it will a full heart?  Or while we are executing on the said passion we stop short?  

Maybe it starts young.  Lets look at something that seems very innocuous at first.  The simple word NO.

It hath been said words have meanings so let’s search – shall we?

Taken from Online Etymology Dictionary | Origin, history and meaning of English word

NO (adv)

“not in any degree, not at all,” Middle English, from Old English na, from ne “not, no” + a “ever.” The first element is from Proto-Germanic *ne (source also of Old Norse, Old Frisian, Old High German ne, Gothic ni “not”), from PIE root *ne- “not.” Second element is from Proto-Germanic *aiwi-, extended form of PIE root *aiw- “vital force, life, long life, eternity.” Ultimately identical to nay, and the differences of use are accidental.”

Years ago a UCLA survey reported that the average one-year-old child hears the word, No! more than 400 times a day! You might think this is an exaggeration. However when we say  No! we usually say, No, no, no!. That’s three times in three seconds! If that child (or adult) is particularly active then i could see this being a valid statistic.  By the way for any parents out there don’t feel bad we have all done it.

(SIDE NOTE: i do realize there are lies, damn lies and statistics – yet i digress).

What do you do when you are constantly being told what not to do? Or being told NO!  You can’t do that! We then “grow up”.

The passion and wonder of childhood fade.  Yet it doesnt have to does it?

Now more than ever there are ways to monetize that passion unless your independently wealthy then you need not worry at all about such things.

One of my interview questions:

What is your true passion?

i truly want to know. What do YOU WANT?  Whatever it is or whatever the person says i usually tell them to go do IT instead of what they think they should be doing. Caveat Emptor: There are always consequences.

I’ve heard all kinds of answers and more to this question: grow mushrooms, paint, be a comedian, peace corps, build the next (insert Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc herewith), fireman, and yes even a porn star.  

Now why i am referencing the word ‘NO’ with respect to not thinking grandiose, audacious, stupendously – enough?

Because we are told you can’t by those that do not understand YOUR passion or those that cannot do what you do and to be more even more succinct they are probably scared at some level.  

Now did i ever say it was easy?  No in fact when it appears to be completely dire straits (not to be confused with the band) it is usually the most opportunistic situation. Storms never last they say and you will always most certainly feel like you are in some form of a storm. “Ordo Ab Chaos” as the old saying goes.

You will encounter criticism, countless setbacks, and ostracization in some cases, depending on how big your passions and executions are in certain areas.  Do not let these deter you.  The loudest negative voice you will have to deal with is the small voice inside your head at night – Nighty Night, but ya can’t do that….

Also to that point remember your passion is just a thought until you execute on it. Ideas are cheap.  Everyone has ideas every day that they never act on because of homeostasis or they create a reason not to act upon thier passion.

One of my all-time favorite guitarist is Steve Vai. He was 17 years old when he played with Frank Zappa.

In this video he talks about what it takes to be successful.

The only thing that is holding you back is the way YOU are thinking.  Again – What is it you truly want?

Whatever it is imagine yourself being there.

All of a sudden the reasons you can’t do it flood in and the word NO is echoed.

In the worst of times go to the larger big audacious outrageous picture of you executing your passion.

Hold it and make it precious.

Then move Ever Forward toward the next step closer to that vision as you become a NO Collector from all of the naysayers that say it cannot be done. For every NO you collect you are one step closer to your success.

Muzak To Blog To: Rome “Flight In Formation”.

Until then,

Be safe.



5 comments on “FLAW: Not Thinking Big Enough or What Is Success?

  • Devin McKinney

    “Because we are told you can’t by those that do not understand YOUR passion or those that cannot do what you do and to be more even more succinct they are probably scared at some level.” This is it in a nutshell. Any creative or engineer that completes their vision comes to this conclusion at some point. Most do at a subconscious level IMO. I avoid the discouragement by avoiding sharing new work with everyone until the end. I only share the progress with the few that inspire and encourage. If you are truly creating something new then either no one will understand or only a select few. Then at that point you have to be obsessed with the vision and the steps to make it a reality in order to stay the course. I appreciate this, it’s validation. Well done

    • TCTJr

      Hi Devin:

      Your thoughts and comments are much appreciated and I am humbled by you taking the time to make such great commentary and insights. //ted

  • Ramani Routray

    Very inspiring Ted. Realization of one’s higher self within and the faith in our dreams can take us places. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Sarah Kefayati

    when I hear “No”, what I think is “great! they are willing to negotiate”

  • Alex Maslow

    This reminds me of Gary Keller’s book, “The One Thing.” I agree with the concept, but the devil is in the details of execution. A couple of the pitfalls that I’ve personally experienced:

    1. Desire and passion shift over time. It’s easy – especially for creative people – to throw oneself passionately into something, only to get bored with it and switch the the next “shiny object.” Conversely, committing 100% to one goal can sometimes close you off to opportunities that might actually be more valuable. I remember being asked to be the best man at my best friend’s wedding, but turning him down because I couldn’t take the time away from the project I was working on. I’ve always regretted that decision.

    2. Sometimes what we want is not the result of a healthy mindset, but the product of what Shirzad Chamine calls “Saboteurs” – internal clusters of behavior rooted in fear and trauma.

    3. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s research into the “Flow” state suggests that a significant level of proficiency is required before the euphoric, passion-inducing experience of practicing a skill can be attained. To take Steve Vai’s example, you can WANT to be a great guitarist all day long, but until you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to get to the point where you can really play, it’s going to be easy to feel discouraged.

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