Dare to be Special, Part 9: BOLD
Last week we discussed the vital role emotional intelligence has in leading ourselves, and others, with success and impact. To drive uphill the constructive, audacious brand of change that is aligned with our true purpose, we need boldness, plenty of it, and emotional strength is the source of the boldness required. If we are bold enough to change ourselves, then we can be bold enough to change the world. Which brings me to the next principle in our Dare to be Special series:
On April 23rd, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech whose words have inspired generations of warriors and leaders since:
“It is not the critic who counts; nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spend himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”
Mr. Roosevelt is articulating the value of avoiding the deathtrap of gossip and other mindless distractions and staking your life on a path of boldness; of translating this boldness into action, to never drift or shirk from defending your values, to stand your ground and never sway. He’s talking about acknowledging and honoring your passion by taking aim with that passion and shooting for the moon. Only through bold action can we making physical contact with our working limitations, then shatter them again and again.
The antithesis of boldness is to stall. Boldness shrivels up and dies when you say today is no good and that you’ll start tomorrow. The energy is drained during hesitation’s perpetual spin. Waiting for the perfect time to act—until you have the complete kit bag full of tools and weapons, or the perfect partner, or some perfect orchestration of conditions. This sort of delay will leave you back with those timid souls who know neither victory, or defeat.
But taking bold action doesn’t mean that we are always acting. Many mistake constant action for productivity and progress. The Warrior’s Way is to first plan for bold action, win in the mind, bulletproof the mission and then, act with boldness. And during this state of action and execution there are moments to take pause and evaluate the battlefield to see what has changed since you acted last. In this pause you will re-orient yourself, your team or organization to the new reality. You’ll devise new tactics and a fresh strategy, and with this invigorated plan explode again with boldness. In this process there is a balanced flow between acting, observing, thinking and acting again. Boldness requires this balance, or it can quickly look like foolishness.
So how can you develop your facility with boldness? Here are some ideas based on what I do to ensure boldness in my life and business:
Hang around people who are doing bold things and study their way. Last weekend I offered a Warrior Yoga class and Unbeatable Mind seminar for a non-profit called Operation Underground Railroad. Tired of seeing nothing being done to stop the insidious sex slavery trade, this group has decided to take massive bold action. This year alone they have rescued over 300 girls from slavery in South America. It’s as if they listened to Roosevelt’s speech and immediately banded together and went for it. These are the type of bold people I want to be around. And so should you.
Take action before you think you are ready. I do this all the time and then have to make course corrections, refund customers when something breaks and re-build it in flight. But I have no regrets for this approach. A good example is my Unbeatable Mind Academy, where I finished developing each lesson literally days before it was due to be delivered to the customers (some of you are part of that bold experiment!).
Train to be bold. Our self-defense training at SEALFIT is 100% offensive and builds a boldness attitude. It is based on the incredibly effective, offensive fighting system called San Soo, and can be experienced in a two day program run by a company called Target Focus Training. Learning to be 100% confident that you can defend yourself and your family from the wolves is extremely liberating and builds the boldness muscle in all you do.
Whatever you think you can do, think bigger. With three billion people due to come online via mobile devices in the next three years, I encourage you to think bigger with your business and professional goals than you think you can right now. Why not impact a million, or even a billion people? My friend, Peter Diamandes (who incidentally is coming out with a book titled BOLD in January), started Singularity University, where they have an entrepreneurial program in which the students must commit to impacting a billion people with their idea! That is boldness in action.
So please don’t be one of those critics, or waste your precious energy pointing out the faults and failures of others. Be bold, get into the arena and taste the sweet joy of victory and capture the precious lessons of defeat.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone – I really appreciate your work, and especially, you’re bold support. Hooyah!