I have a fairly big ambition, which will probably come up here sooner or later. But what’s relevant is that there’s something I want to happen, and to pursue it directly would without a doubt require effort by a lot of people. And I’ve occasionally caught myself thinking of say Warren Buffett or Eminem, going “Man, if I had that much money/influence, I could really make things happen”.
The problem is that I don’t really know what would need to happen to achieve my ambition. You know, in a totally brass tacks, David Allen action-item kind of way: if I had a million dollars for this specific purpose, what exactly would I do with them? And as long as I don’t have an excellent answer for that, I don’t really need to worry about the million dollars.
Of course money would help, in that I could pay other people to think about what to do. But it would be just that, help. Like a carbon road bike lets you go faster, but doesn’t do the biking for you. It’s tempting to go all Stephen Covey and say that the million dollars aren’t within my sphere of influence, but (aside from my being 25 years and eighteen thousand self-improvement books late in making that point) I find the topic is interesting because the million dollars are attainable. As in, if I choose to shift my focus entirely to making money instead of figuring things out, I could make a million dollars. Only I probably couldn’t do both at once, and if my ultimate goal was something other than the money itself, I might not be any closer once I had the million dollars. If you don’t know what to do, your resources don’t matter.
“A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!“. So cries Richard the Third, who has more resources than most, but not the thing he really wants. I wonder how often that scenario plays out in our lives? Have you ever cursed your commute even though you spend a good deal of your time merely existing? Coveted a promotion without considering whether you would enjoy the daily work of that position? Wished for the next episode of True Blood to be out even though the last one didn’t really blow your mind? If you’re lucky you get what you wanted, only to find out that pure bliss (or whatever it is that you really wanted) wasn’t part of the benefits package.
So I guess in a sense it is all Stephen Covey, about being effective by doing the thing that matters. About not wishing for things that you don’t really need.
This series is about the influence, small or large, that you have over the world. Part 1 talked about invulnerable superheroes, and what we can learn from their limitations.