Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Not?

Ralph Waldo Emerson warned, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers and divines."

As children, immersed in the golden light of curiosity, we embrace life without question or prejudice. However, as adults, we are weighed down by our histories and past narratives. That baggage limits our ability to be open, to be truly and honestly alive, and to see things with the freshness that once came so naturally.

Professionally, I spend countless hours moving clients to view their brands with honest and unabashed realities. Personally, I spend a few hours each week engaged in activities to get that freshness back and once a year I spend a full week shedding the mental tartar build-up of life.

Children are always asking "why not?" in a effort to take forward action. Adults are often pronouncing "why not?" in effort to renounce forward action. And, one wonders why I will never grow up.

For years I've heard people say, "one's truth is staring them in the mirror." The flaw in the argument is that the reflection in the mirror is a one sided perception of the truth. We are limited creatures with difficulties looking beyond the fa├žade.

In order to find and thus make change to one's truth, we must view a new mirror, one that enables us to liberate our inner reality. Sure, these optics can be painful, however, the truth is not always easy and you must face it without recoil.

People and businesses are scared much of the time. Being scared is one of the central constraints in our lives and imaginations. We are afraid to reveal our fragility and our weaknesses. We refuse to do anything that would expose ourselves or make ourselves vulnerable. So we hide out, tucked in our shells, and keep our different personalities or selves under wraps. We prefer to describe our weaknesses with mere captions. The unarticulated or the unimagined is easier to live with. In fact, we consider such silence to be a virtue. We think of it as a mature way to act or respond seeing ourselves as quiet, unflappable professionals or partners.

I have found the reverse to be true. When people and companies unlock greater emotional truth, one experiences life through a deeper palette of colors and gain a truer sense of life and work.

"Why not?" a child asks happily never imposing limits to their imagination, ignorant of potential consequences and armed with focus of wonder gained from an untethered, fearless soul waiting to be released.

"Why not?" I often ask adults running businesses and families. We love heroes, buy the products they endorse, follow the sport they play, read their biography, wait in long queue to watch their film or eat at the restaurant. We do this because instinctively we admire their courage and heroism and these glimpses temporarily transport us. But "why not?" do these things yourself?

I'm told often by the VP of STIR-Communications that my thoughts live in the grandiose or the future. I counter with, I'm confident she has the present under control, allowing me to dream loudly, pushing the envelope moving forward. I mean, "why not?" If it doesn't work or come to fruition, just replace it with "so what?," then move on to the next "why not?"

That's how innovation, success and life happens.

"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance," said Orville Wright.

Examine your life and business and determine what perceived truths can be altered. What new directions can you apply, sparking a fresh outlook to even the most mundane tasks? How can just freeing yourself to say "why not?" more often make life exciting?

All my best,

Greg Salsburg
The Big STIR
Miami | New York | London
c: (561) 386-8064
o: (305) 407-1723

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