12 August 2005

Initiative to Innovation

Kevin Shockey's post talks about an all-too-human response to being exposed to energy-inspiring ideas, a type of "Saturday high that fades by Monday." In this case, even a Tom Peters fan can be swept away by the potential only to feel the energy draining in the black holes and sump pumps that surround Us.

With no slight to Kevin, let's analyze this reaction:

1) Without a doubt, Tom is right about emphasizing dreaming, creating, non-comformity, education, risk-taking, revolution, excellence, challenge, opportunity, personal choice and confronting chaos. That he couches his views in what critics call "over-exuberance" is a triviality. Peters is right and whether you like or hate his style, the concepts he presents are worth everybody's attention.

2) Encountering great ideas, versions of Truth, is exhilarating and empowering. Most people understand the Truth when they meet it, but fail to enact the crucial final step, which is to take the initiative and act on Truth. This enormous responsibility is what causes some people to flee from these ideas: it overwhelms their power of personal choice. For most people, accepting Truths is easy; internalizing those Truths and keeping them vibrant is not. Like a candle's flame in a storm, one must both protect and advance the Truth against the harshness of daily struggles.

3) Humans are social creatures for whom isolation is pain. Being a keeper of Truth and trying to espouse it in the face of criticism, ignorance, intolerance, rejection or--worst of all--indifference, requires a level of determination and persistence, a bedrock of belief and yes, faith, that takes this isolation, this hollow pain, and turns it into Action. When based on ego, pride and intellectual honesty, action becomes the expression of craftsmen and craftswomen, true creators; when based on the id, vanity and self-righteousness, action becomes the flailing of fanatics and terrorists.

What Peters is asking of Us, what Kevin and The Jenius are striving for, is Innovation. As much as We may believe in the goal, as much as We may want to achieve it, the process is slow, chaotic and sometimes tortuous.

And yet We go on. There is no other choice.

From the Fast Company blog comes this insightful post on taking the initiative and sustaining it. Written by Jim Canterucci, it provides a useful blueprint for those moments when Truth meets negativity:

Intensifying Your Initiative: 5 Tips
Without harnessing the power of initiative, the wheel of innovation comes to a screeching halt. We all have a desire to "make a difference" or to make improvements in our lives, but for a variety of reasons, many people face challenges in regard to taking initiative in one form or another. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to enhance your power of initiative, and the payoffs are huge.

1. Give Yourself Permission to Decide for Yourself
Waiting for others to join you in your initiative can slow the wheels of innovation and drag out the process.

2. Make Choices and Act on Them
Keep in mind that you don't have to come up with the best possible decision, you just have to come up with one way that will work.

3. Don't Wait to Be Inspired; Get Inspired!
Take responsibility for feeding positive input into your mental process.

4. Increase Your Accountability
Practice increasing your initiative by stepping up to the plate and volunteering to lead projects.

5. Live By Your Word
Make a firm commitment to yourself that you will keep your promises, no matter what.

It isn't easy. It never is. That's what separates Us from "them."

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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