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Sometimes One Has To Stay Focused, Take a Deep Breath and Just Jump In...

Feb 27, 2008
You have been there before. You have one minute to make a big decision and that's it. If you don't decide, you lose the opportunity. Secretly you wish you could poke and probe a bit more to verify your gut feeling but that is not to be. It's now or never as the song goes, come hold me tight right now or lose the opportunity forever.

Opportunity is a passionate but fleeting lover. Like life, one has to love the thrill more than fear the fear; going with opportunity is not always easy. One can watch or one can participate; one can swim or one can sunbathe. Unfortunately it's not easy because we really don't like change since it makes us shift and modify our hard earned attitudes and perceptions.

Rather than take what we are given and develop a free and inquiring mind, we often prefer the gray twilight of our own artificially constructed comfort zone. We even become defensive about it.

The best tactic in life and work is to latch on to your curiosity, become engaged and eliminate that insidious comfort zone altogether. Once the lines are blurred it's not so easy to keep that house of cards standing; in fact, it's best to not build a house on false premises in the first place. Go ahead, just jump in...

In the abstract, one thinks the safety of the comfort zone makes all well by avoiding unnecessary risks in the scary unknown. It's a jungle out there. But it is human to pursue the unknown as curiosity is our nature; curiosity is in fact us.

We inherited curiosity from the monkeys, apes and cavefolk we came from. As the human brain mutated, one of the survival keys was curiosity which brought the great reward of knowledge to those that pursued it.

Take yourself for example. Don't you find it much easier when you learn about things that interest you? Duh. Everything you do becomes thrilling when you are excited. Why beat your head against the wall forcing yourself to do something you don't really want to do because you feel you just have to do it? Or even worse, someone else thinks you should do it. Sort of sounds like going to school...

This is the fundamental key to all training and education: find out what the student is interested in and drive them to it. Let them get engaged and stand back. Let them jump in and absorb all they can as they hunger for more.

Once they try the free and inquiring mind model there is no stopping them. Once they use the right mental software they will gain the requisite skills and capabilities and will push and push and get an education even in spite of going to school.

Perhaps the best part of jumping in is what is learned in the process or as they say in psychospeak, it's a cognitive thing. Let's repeat that one more time: the best part of jumping in is learning from the experience.

That's what makes a lot of inventors and innovators tick. They get very good at jumping in. Besides, by doing like Thomas Edison and paying particular attention to what does not work, you won't waste time retesting a failure. This process sure must work because we all know what Edison did.

Like Edison one must develop singularity of purpose as well as a thick skin. All the safe and secure folks in your life will think you are crazy for leaving the tried and true for the fanciful and theoretical. They will laugh when you fall down and smirk when you get bruised and struggle. They will tell you curiosity killed the cat and if you aren't careful it will kill you too; it's always nice to have support from those that truly care.

Another compelling argument for jumping in is research indicates that we may in fact learn more from our failures than our successes. If you don't believe this is true, just remember Thomas Edison. Somehow learning what not to do helps set the parameters and guidelines for success and what to do. People that try get results. People that don't try get bored and become boring.

Research is also pointing to a profound difference in the engaged mind versus the autopilot mind. First indications are that the not only is the neural biochemistry different but the actual neural networks can be modified and extended to adapt to our interests.

It's called brain plasticity. Since this is the case we might even conclude that jumping in is what we are wired to do. Go against your curiosity and you go against your very nature.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of being bold is that we can test and discover which of our premises are flawed or need to be reworked. Working out any plan with flawed or weak premises is bound to produce a minimal outcome. Edison knew that so he just kept eliminating the flaws and who can argue with Edison's results?

So go ahead, jump in, what do you have to lose but your comfort zone. Only you can decide if your motto is 'fear of failure or 'nothing ventured, nothing gained'.
About the Author
Jack Deal is the owner of Jack D. Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com/blog/personal_development and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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