Friday, April 02, 2010

Motivational Speaker

Barriers to achievement are mostly in the mind. We are not born with the innate ability to perform every task that we will need to fulfil in life: we must learn, we must grow. Some acquire skills quickly, others hardly at all, after the explosion of childhood. So what stops people from taking those steps on the road to self improvement? It is that organ between your ears: that spongy mass of grey matter, filled to the brim with hopes, fears and desires.

There is no real limit to what someone can do within their lifetime. It all starts with the will to do it. To set your mind to run full tilt at a goal is the most empowering thing you can do. That's the biggest obstacle overcome right there: it is all downhill from now on. But I haven't got the talent, I can hear you whine. The truth is you don't know that for sure and nobody else does either - that's your mental barrier talking - your most vociferous critic. Until you have a go, you won't know. And guess what, by having a go you will have learnt some lessons that you can plough back in to making it better next time.

Even if the light that illuminates that path is temporarily extinguished, you have secreted away some valuable data  that can be whipped out at a moment's notice if the need arises. The more avenues of interest that you explore, the more varied your experiences become and your stock of responses to those new unfamiliar situations grows in its repertoire. Life becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, full of a world of possibilities instead of a linear route from cradle to grave.

The most exciting times in  recent human existence have been when the threshold of entry has been lowered to impossibly low levels. I am thinking here of the birth of punk rock: when seemingly overnight it became OK to start a band and play gigs even if you couldn't (by historical standards that is) actually play an instrument. Who cares that all of the Ramones songs were under three minutes long and consisted of three chords each, thrashed with abandon by leather jacketed, ripped T Shirt, twentysomethings? Only the most uncharitable would fail to agree that these were true greats of the pop world. If they had been held back by the "you can't do that" mantra, we would all be the poorer for it. Did they every sit back and consider whether they had talent? I think not. They just imagined a world in which they became stars and made it happen.

This "can do" attitude came to the fore again in 2006 with the rise of Web 2.0, a renaissance for the Internet age after the boom years of 2000-2001. Anyone with half an idea for a service that could be plied over the wires of the world wide web, launched their own startup company even if their idea had no obvious way of making any money. Again the naysayers were thwarted and the roadblock to achievement had been cleared off the highway to the future. Without this lowering of the hurdles we would never have been graced with the presence of Twitter: a service that not only made no money, but also had no point, according to its legion of detractors. I do not need to remind you of its ubiquity today.

Its time. Time to unshackle your creative power - you don't need talent, you just need to try it. What's the worst that could happen?

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