Sunday, May 26, 2013

Paradoxical Commandment #6**QLu2VVQfvnaIEzyxSO11rwdkqRti2q4ra1ES1p8jr1BpSEJSaRTmqdCOv-6CXzMGxmhyl-gUex/applelogo.gif
Steve Jobs is one of the world’s best known innovators.  His work ethic, imaginative drive, and creative impetus pushed Apple Computers from a marginalized, niche oriented computer company into one of the world’s most well known brands in just a decade’s time.  He initiated the steps that lead to the overhaul the music industry, the way we view telecommunication devices, and how we compute.  Only, all of this happened after he was essentially fired from Apple in 1985, nine years after founding the company.  Thus, paradoxical commandment number six:

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

Thinking big extends beyond creating the thought and holding on to it.  Thinking big takes action.  The first steps towards enacting any idea can feel terrifying, filling our minds with worries of failure and loss.  Take the first steps anyway.  Most of us have an easy time imagining failure; we have a harder time wrapping our minds around the enormity of success.  Focus on the possibility of success.  Take the first steps knowing success lies at the end of the journey.

It isn't comfortable in there is it?  Come on out!
I push this idea with my private students.  Too often, their young psyches choose safety over the possibility of performing musically.  They hide in their box, worried they might mess up.  I encourage them to accept any and all errors; by knowing errors occur, we prepare ourselves for stepping past them.  As my college bassoon professor, Jeff Robinson, used to tell us - you haven’t made a reed until you have made 1000.  Knowing what doesn’t work holds as much importance as knowing what does.

I also hold my students to a rule about musicality - if you feel like you are doing enough, you aren’t; if you feel like you are doing too much, you are doing enough.  I think this rule fits well with paradoxical commandment number six.  Go big, or go home.  No pain, no gain.  No risk, no reward.
One of these products has probably affected your
life in one way or another.  Thank Steve Jobs.
In 1996, Apple Computer purchased NeXT, a company founded by Steve Jobs after  he left Apple.  Steve had come home.  One year later he held the position of CEO.  Then came the iMac, the iBook, the PowerBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.  Jobs has said getting fired was the best thing to ever happen to him.  Without it, he would never have reinvented our lives.

When we fail to act on our big thinking, we only guarantee one thing - failure.  Get that beautiful idea out of your head and put it on paper.  Put it into action.  Lead it to fruition.  If some small minded person shoots it down, so what, keep thinking big.  We believe in you.  Now you should, too.

- I first encountered an adapted version of the “Paradoxical Commandments,” titled “The Final Analysis,” while listening to a Wayne Dyer audio CD in my early twenties.  The meaning and message struck me as true, helping guide my thoughts and actions as I developed from a big kid into a real adult.  Later, I discovered the poem was not actually written by Mother Theresa at all, but adapted, framed, and hung on the wall in her Calcutta orphanage.  She cared about its message enough to use it to empower the weak and marginalized children to whom she gave her life.

The Paradoxical Commandments are reprinted with permission.  © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

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