Sonntag, 21. April 2013

Innovate Like A Jedi

Remember the epic battle at the end of Star Wars? Luke Skywalker is streaking down a trench on the surface of the Death Star, trying to sneak his proton torpedoes down an exhaust port. With his X-Wing fighter bouncing around and the weight of the universe on his shoulders, he hears the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi:

"Use the Force, Luke. Let go, Luke."

You know the rest: by shutting down his targeting computer in favor of the Force, Luke stops obsessing about hitting the target and instead becomes one with his X-Wing. By trusting his instincts, he achieves the impossible and a minute later the Empire is down one Death Star.

Now let’s jump from the orbit of Alderaan through hyperspace back to Earth and a thought expressed by Michael Dearing in The New York Times earlier this week. Michael is a serial entrepreneur who currently leads Harrison Metal, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. Reflecting on his own history as an innovator who experienced a big failure earlier in his career, Michael says something profound:

“If you stop worrying about the outcomes, you will achieve a better outcome.”

As paradoxical as it first sounds, Michael’s insight is the key to becoming a confident innovator, no matter which galaxy you’re from.

When you stop worrying about outcomes, you let go of the fear of ultimate, soul-crushing failure, which in turn allows you to focus on the here and now. Living in the moment allows you to more clearly see and hear what life is telling you. That feedback helps you understand the true nature of what is going on with your new venture, and in turn leads to better decision making. Releasing yourself from fear not only adds a few points of IQ to your total, but also gives you the courage to run that test you’ve been thinking about, to build that prototype—today. Taking action now and failing on a smaller level each day, while listening to the resulting feedback coming your way, ends up giving you a much better chance of succeeding in the end than if you ignore those small doses of daily feedback.

Achieving a better outcome by not worrying about the outcome is a very Obi-Wan Kenobi worldview, but it really does work. It's also a difficult behavior for would-be innovators to adopt. In my experience, you learn how to release your worries by building up the kind of personal mileage that only accrues via the process of shipping stuff. The more you ship, the more you get in tune with The Force, and significantly raise your odds of achieving something truly remarkable.

What future failure are you worrying about right now? And what would happen if you let it go?
Read more at Diego's blog metacool

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