The Quantum Mousetrap

Mark Eduljee's blog about Social Media Insights Intelligence and his FlightSim Movies

Posts Tagged ‘Emerson’

When is it a good time to start?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The time to start is when I can make an informed choice to begin.

At the point of beginning, I am faced with two choices:

  1. Act fearful, make excuses, play the victim, act busy, procrastinate, or simply tune out. I lose. Those around me lose too. Or…
  2. Having done the due diligence to plan, assess capabilities and risk, I can check: Do I honestly think that success is reasonably probable? If the answer is No, then I ask why, reset, and set a deadline (very important to do this) to begin again. If yes, then start.

Then, only two outcomes are possible:

  • “it” falls short, sputters, or
  • “it” happens

As long as my choice to begin was intentional and informed, either way, I win. Why? because in both cases I learned something along the way.

I’ve learned to quit thinking of “need to start”. I focus instead on “want to learn”. It’s easy to choose to start when the goal is to learn. Learning is incremental. It builds on itself. Exponentially. The journey then becomes less about start or stop, or success or failure, and more about commitment and pace.

And isn’t that the real objective?  After all, isn’t the human condition simply all about learning, and using it in a positive, constructive, and helpful way to build-on and make the next time better?  And how can anyone learn if the choice is to not start? Do you know chronic planners and strategists who measure their success by the volume of activity, instead of demonstrating results from having done something?

In my About page, I quote my Dad. He had a worn down piece of paper in his wallet. It was a handwritten quote from Rose Knox, a pioneering business woman in the early 20th century, and it said, “Any man who trips over the same stone twice deserves to break his neck”.  He lived that principle. And I honor him by doing likewise.

Sooner or later, we all face times when we trip, when we don’t get to “it”, when the rocket staggers 2 feet off the pad then blows up. Think about Edison, he mentions how he got to a bulb filament that glowed long and bright only by first learning, “1000’s of times”, what material not to use. (Here’s an interesting thread about whether he actually said that).

It’s easy to focus on, and become paralyzed by, what can go wrong when standing at the start gate. I’ve done it. Honestly, I was really reacting to my lack of preparation. Worse is being influenced or coerced by powerful or authoritative figures who have a vested interest in seeing that you not start at all. That’s happened to me too. In those situations I reminded myself to remain calm and to give myself more time to think…to think about root cause. Dig deep, peel back the onion layers, and get to “why and motivation”. Forget about “What do I do next!”. That will come after the motivation and reasons behind the “Why” is known. Again, it’s about learning. Knowledge enables.

Focus on being positive and decisive, and as Emerson said “the universe will conspire to make it happen”.  Imagine if Orville and Wilbur had focused on the negative aspects of crashing, instead of rolling their Flyer off the hill to learn what they needed for beautiful, graceful, controlled flight!

Therefore do I now throw the switch to light the filament, and fly this blog off the hill with this first post. I choose to begin.

Is it perfect? No.  Will the Quantum Mousetrap always be improving, and strive to be helpful, interesting and engaging? I certainly commit to making it so. (how do you like the name BTW?  See my About page for why I chose that name)

And will you share your experiences with comments and participation? I think you will.

Now is a good time to start.

Your turn: How do you decide it’s a good time to start (or stop) doing something? What helps you not to trip over the same stone twice?  Who inspired you to learn from your blow-ups? Please use the Comments and Reactions link below.