We’ve all met them before. They seem to show up everywhere, all the time. And we’ve become all too familiar with their response style.
They are those well intended folks who, regardless of ideas, suggestions or solutions put before them, always and immediately are able to come up with 100+ reasons why they won’t work.
Regardless of how innovative and creative our ideas may be, these dreams-crumblers, can instantly point out why pursuing such dreams are a bad idea.
Naysaying is not a new art. Naysayers have been around since time immemorial and one could make an argument that they belong to the largest organization in the world as witnessed by the fact that regardless of who is present when we are presenting our ideas, a representative of the I.O.N. (International Order of Naysayers) is always present.
So the theme for today’s blog is somewhat different from previous weeks.
Today I would like to recommend that if we are, in fact, regular practitioners of “why this won’t work,” that we immediately undertake to replace the opportunity-destroying Habit of Seeking WhyNot.
As we’ve mentioned before it is next to impossible to quit a habit. It is far easier, and success is far more likely, if we exchange one habit for another.
Not for one moment am I suggesting that we blindly remove all filters to good sense and leap headfirst into every idea, suggestion or opportunity that is presented to us. Due diligence is, if nothing else, a worthy extension of common sense.
What I am suggesting, for those of us who have this tendency to discount and ridicule all ideas off the top of our heads is to persistently develop what I call The Habit of Exploring Possibilities.
Every great innovation began its life as the seed of an idea in someone’s head.
Imagine what we may have forfeited as a society if many of those ideas been successfully shut down by naysayers during their embryonic stages.
We are all beneficiaries of the results of the creativity, inspiration and persistence of so many who have gone before us.
I can only imagine how some of those early innovators and some of their ideas might have been received by the practitioners of the Habit of Seeking WhyNot who were present in days gone by.
“A flying machine? Are you nuts?”
“A device that will enable us to talk to people in other places? Crazy!”
“A machine that can see through human bodies so that we can see what’s going on inside? Impossible.”
“A box in our living room that shows us pictures and talks to us? Never.”
Of course, there are countless other examples.
They say a visionary is a person who, upon looking out a window, sees not only what is there but what could be there.
Possibility thinking is what has led to every great scientific breakthrough, every miraculous medical discovery and every piece of technology that serves no purpose other than to make our lives easier.
And my guess is each of these was, at some point, discounted by people who, upon hearing of the idea, immediately presented multiple reasons why these could not and would not ever come to fruition.
It is my belief that greatness comes only to those who reach out for it. The only guaranteed method of never failing is never trying.
As much as those practitioners of the Habit of Seeking WhyNot are usually well-intentioned, it is necessary to have the courage to pursue our dreams even against the advice of those who care most about us.
I cannot imagine a scene much sadder than a person who, close to the end of their life, looks back over the years and says, “I should have… I wish I had…”
Adopting The Habit of Exploring Possibilities is not about abdicating common sense. It is about exploring every avenue of possibility and of only rejecting an idea after all your research leads to the conclusion of its infeasibility.
I recently read a story of a man who had a dream of opening a pizza restaurant.
All those close to him advised against proceeding.
“The market is saturated.”
“There is too much competition.”
“You don’t have enough money.”
“You don’t have enough experience.”
“You’ll go broke.”
“Go get a real job.”
But he was determined to give it his best shot.
Against all advice he went ahead and opened a small pizza place.
He called it Domino’s.
Ever heard of it?
The Habit of Exploring Possibilities!
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.