Here is a recent blog post by Josh Linkner, author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity. With all due respect to the value of effort and even best effort, Josh is really talking about a mindset that many affirm but few develop: faith in the power of 100% best effort.
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Imagine you have the chance to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the pole vault. It’s your big moment and you may even break a world record. With the intense glow of audience scrutiny, this isn’t the time to hedge your bets. If you try a safer approach or pause to consider all the risks, the game is over. Instead, your best chance of reaching greatness is to give the task at hand your every ounce of passion, commitment, and energy.
To reach your true potential, you need to be All In.
Opportunity knocks for us all, sometimes more subtly than we’d like. Frequently that opportunity is shrouded with doubt and uncertainty; often it looks like a setback or even danger. Most of us ignore these opportunities altogether, or when we seize them we do so with a halfhearted approach.
“I’ll give it a shot”, we might say. Or, “Let’s see what happens.” The problem is – all the energy you put into developing Plan B ends up defusing your focus on the real prize. It turns out that the most successful people devour each opportunity along their journey with carnivorous ferocity. They give each shot everything they have, knowing full well that some will ring the victory bell while others crash and burn.
Think how silly Lady Gaga would look spending 10 hours a week working on her CPA license in case her music career flopped. Or what about a Major League Baseball player who never swung for the fences? Life is short and opportunities are fleeting. If you hope to achieve your full potential, you must put all your weight behind each punch. Start playing to win, and stop playing “not to lose.”
Sure, it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and point fingers. There are scores of people who achieve nothing of their own, but relish in the setbacks of others. But, at the end of the day, they’ll look back and wish they took a stand of their own. They’ll wish they were All In.
Theodore Roosevelt said it best, way back in 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
When you are presented with an opportunity, attack it with everything you’ve got. No more half-and-half. It’s time to be All In.
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Josh Linkner is the New York Times Bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top ten business books of 2011. He is the CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm helping to rebuild urban areas through technology and entrepreneurship. Josh is the Founder, Chairman and former CEO of ePrize, the largest interactive promotion agency in the world providing digital marketing services for 74 of the top 100 brands. Prior to ePrize, Josh was the founder and CEO of three other successful technology companies. Josh’s writings are published frequently by Fast Company and Forbes and he’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, and on CNBC. Josh is also a professional-level jazz guitarist performing regularly in jazz clubs throughout the United States.
Most importantly, Josh in on a mission to make the world more creative.