I picked up a copy of “Rules of Thumb” by Alan M. Webber in our local bookstore last week, and it has some interesting ideas. First of all, being a fan of all things index card, it was fun to read about the stack of 3x5s that he has been collecting throughout his career.
“I’ve recorded these lessons on three-by-five cards that I carry with me every day at home and on the road. (This wonderful system is something that I learned more than 20 years ago from Harvard Business School professor Ted Levitt, one of the mentors you’ll meet in this book.)
Not long ago, I reviewed all the three-by-five cards I’d written on and saved. This time my goal was to capture the rules I’d learned.”
Well, I (Stephen) certainly didn’t go to Harvard Business School, but I have been carrying notecards and notebooks around for a pretty long time. After I finish reading this book I am going to have to dig into those archives and see what pearls of wisdom I can recover.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at rule #1: When the going gets tough, the tough relax.
I can get behind this idea! In fact, it reminded me of something I had read somewhere before, especially as Webber expands on the idea, “Anytime you approach a task with fear you are a double loser.” and “Don’t let fear undermine your chance to do that one thing you’ve wanted to do.”
What are you really afraid of
Indeed, fear can make a mess of things. Fear can also cause you to not make a mess, because you just might. Quoting from Frank Herbert’s Dune: (wikipedia link)
The litany against fear is an incantation used by the Bene Gesserit throughout the series to focus their minds and calm themselves in times of peril. The litany is as follows:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
(I trust that this isn’t getting too deep.) Fear is the mind-killer. The dream-killer. The slayer of ambition and innovation. Fear of the unkown has killed more good ideas than we can probably count.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when prudence is called for. But there are also times that you need to “feel the fear and do it anyway“.
Even George Costanza was able to overcome his fear and start making decisions. Completely opposite decisions to what he thought – knew – were right:
What fears have you overcome? Or, put another way, what would you attempt to do if you believed that you could not fail? Share in the comments.