Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Joy Of Wrong

In the Pike Place Market in Seattle, you can still find the first Starbucks.  There’s something wrong with it, though.  It’s not quite right, not quite a Starbucks.  The logo is different; the layout is different.

It turns out that the original Starbucks didn’t sell coffee.

They sold coffee beans and tea leaves and even herbs.  But except for a sip or a taste of coffee brewed from a particular bean (drip, no espresso!), there was no cup of coffee to be had.

Starbucks was wrong.  Jerry Baldwin, one of the founders, made a mistake.  He thought the beans were the point, not the coffee.  Left to Jerry’s vision of the future, Starbucks would certainly have failed.  It took Howard Schultz, a trip to Italy, and an obsession with espresso to turn Starbucks into Starbucks.  And Howard gets a lot of credit for making that happen.

But what if the “wrong” Starbucks had never been built?  What if Jerry and his partners had said, “Well, we’re not sure if this bean thing is going to work, so let’s do nothing”?  Without Jerry Baldwin and his flawed idea for a coffee bean store, there’d be no Frappuccino.  One led to the other by the usual route, which is never a straight line.

The original Starship Enterprise was conceived by Matt Jefferies.  It looked like a cross between a Frisbee and a can opener.  Clearly wrong.

But Matt had the drive to deliver.  He took the wrong start and revised and improved and innovated until the Enterprise we know and love came to be.  The hardest part, it seems to me, was the first one, the wrong one.

Poking doesn’t mean right.  It means action.

The above is an excerpt from Poke The Box by Seth Godin.  It raises some very important questions.  Like what happened to creativity?  What happened to initiative?  What happened to the desire to do important work?  What happened to the childhood wonder and adventure we all used to have – where we constantly pushed limits and chartered into unknown territory?  Did we all get old and fall into a world of “safe” and “predictable”?

If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe and predictable, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely.  So don’t be afraid to start something new or take the first step into the unknown and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail.  For often out of failure comes our greatest discoveries and our greatest triumphs.

Happy Wednesday!



How Good Are You?

Earlier this week I got my first article published on Business Blogs.  Pretty stoked about it.  Hopefully, there are many more to come.  Due to copyright issues I can’t post the contents of the article on my own site but you can follow the link below to the article.  It’s slightly more “businessy” but definitely still applicable to your life and mindset.

Check it out –> Business Blogs: How Good Are You?

Happy Wednesday!


Are You Willing To Get Your Hands Dirty?

When I sit down to write, I often think to myself that writing is very much like life.

Sometimes you sit down to write and there’s nothing there.  You have no inspiration.  No words flowing from your pen (or keyboard).  And that feeling sucks.  You feel uninspired and empty.  And in the same way, sometimes that’s how life is too.  Your job sucks.  Your relationships suck.  Everything just kind of sucks.  But that’s when you have to find a way to dig deep and focus.  It’s so easy to lose sight of the empowering fact that everyday you get the opportunity to wake up, breathe in the fresh air of possibility and go pursue your dreams.

It’s always “easy” when things are good.  Everyone’s happy.  Everyone’s comfortable.  Not a care in the world.  But that never lasts.  The very nature of life means you will have your ups and downs.  So what happens when things are not good?  Then what do you do?  How do you find the opportunity?  How do you navigate your way through the unknown?

First thing is to not resist, but embrace these uncharted terrains.  These are times where you are forced to be uncomfortable.  It’s when you’re challenged.  It’s when you grow.  It’s when you struggle, fight, scratch and claw your way though the debris to find your way… to the next challenge you will meet head on and overcome.  It’s where all the good stuff happens.  It’s where all the excitement lives.  It’s where leaders are made.  It’s where innovation and success is born.

It doesn’t matter how much crap you think you have to deal with, somebody, somewhere has it worse.  Much, much worse.  So there’s no use in complaining or worrying about how bad you think you have it.  Instead, resolve yourself to have a great mental attitude.  Then, start focusing on what you can learn, what skills you can acquire and how you’re going to overcome your current situation.  And don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty with experience, because the world belongs to those who are willing to get their hands dirty… really, really dirty.

Happy Wednesday!


The Alchemist

This past weekend I read The Alchemist.  Honestly, it took me about 3 hours to read because it was just really hard to put down.  The story just pulled me in and ignited my imagination.  I highly recommend you click on the link above and buy it right now.  Sparing you a review of the book I’m just going to highlight some excerpts from the book that sparked my own thought, hopefully they spark meaningful thought in you too.  Note: there are so many inspiring words in this story that I couldn’t possibly highlight them all without just copying the book into this post, so get the book for yourself and read it!


“What’s the world’s greatest lie?  […]  It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.  That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property.  But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future.  I’m interested only in the present.  If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.  You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race.  Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”

“There is only one way to learn.  It’s through action.  Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”

“Wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.”

“You have been a real blessing to me.  Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.  I don’t want anything else in life.  But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons I have never known.”

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.  […]  Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

“The darkest hour of night came just before the dawn.”

“Don’t give in to your fears.  If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”


Now go get the book and read it for yourself.  Honestly, might be one of the best investments you ever make in yourself.

Happy Wednesday!


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