I mentioned previously that I was listening to the audiobook, Things A Little Bird Told Me, on newly discovered (and loved) Audible a while back. I finished the book and definitely recommend reading it (or listening to it).
Straight from the mouth of a man whose taken significant risks and followed his dreams and passions, Biz Stone (self-proclaimed Genius, which he describes in the book), encourages everyone to not only pursue their dream when the opportunity arises, but create the opportunity to make that dream a reality even if the circumstances don’t fortuitously present themselves.
“I discovered early on that it was better to make my own destiny…. If opportunity is just a set of circumstances, why are we waiting around for the stars to align? Rather than waiting and pouncing with a high degree of failure… create the set of circumstances on your own. If you make the opportunity, you’ll be first in position to take advantage of it… Success is a combination of work and luck. As you create opportunities for yourself, your odds at the lottery go WAY up!… The best opportunities aren’t listed on job boards… Inventing your dream is the first and biggest step toward making it come true. Once you realize this simple truth, a whole new world of possibilities opens up in front of you.”
Throughout the book, he speaks with a self-assured voice, confident in his accomplishments. Yet while discussing many of his amazing successes, he dabbles near but doesn’t cross the line into arrogance or preaching. And to be honest, he has taken some pretty significant risks that, through hard work and brilliance, have panned out quite well for him. So he can pretty much “back it up.”
I think everyone can read this book and take away, if nothing else, a reminder that we control our own destinies in a lot of ways. No doubt luck plays a role in life. But like Stone says above, the decisions we make and actions we take have the potential to exponentially increase our “chances” of winning the “luck lottery.” At the very least, we have to put ourselves in a position to exploit that luck should the lottery call our name.
In pursuing our passions, Stone suggests many of us don’t take big enough risks. Too often, we play it too safe and hedge so much that we prevent the wild successes we hope to achieve.
“The problem is, unless you are willing to accept the worst case scenario, you can’t expect to achieve the best case scenario. If it is going to reach the potential you dream it will, your true calling needs all your attention. Willingness to take risks is the path to success.”
Further, he suggests we stop making excuses about the limitations or obstacles “preventing” us from accomplishing our dreams. These limitations are actually opportunities.
“Constraint inspires creativity. Blank spaces are difficult to fill. But the smallest prompt can send us in fantastic new directions.”
“Embrace your constraints…They are provocative. They are challenging. They wake you up. They make you more creative. They make you better.”
“People think of constraint as giving something up instead of gaining something. If you give away your Xbox, you gain back all the hours it used to suck from your life. Embrace constraint. What you get in return is the art and craft of editing your own life, weeding out what is and isn’t necessary.”
This relates to our closet, for sure. An overflowing closet can be overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start. But having fewer items can help us focus on where to begin to create new outfits. And certainly, one can’t over estimate the peace of mind that comes with extra physical space, at the very least, of a closet that isn’t filled to the brim with ‘stuff.’
In the end, Stone essentially says to just go for it, expect failures along the way, admit vulnerability and failure (which will earn you goodwill from those impacted by your failures), and never stop asking questions!
“It’s better to get it built and out in the world, than to take years to make it perfect before you know if it’s going to work.”
“You don’t want to advertise your failings, but to hide them is, on some level, deception. This brings me to the value of vulnerability. When you let people understand that you are people like they are, passionate but imperfect, what you get in return is goodwill.”
“Asking questions is free. Do it!”
He makes many great points and offers many reminders about happiness and achieving our goals in life. In the end, he ultimately tells us to just Invent Our Dreams! And he’s so right. What are we waiting for?!
I suspect not all of us intend to start the next multi-billion dollar social change medium. But I’m sure we all have a thing or two that’s been gnawing away at our hearts wanting more attention than it’s getting.
This book isn’t going to teach you how to make your dreams a reality. In fact, I’m not sure it would even be possible to create a universal “how-to” for such a varied and personal feat. But it is a great reminder that the power is in our own little hands.
We may not be solving global health issues or finding a resolution for world peace. But if you have a little dream, read the book, take a few notes, and do something about making that dream your reality.
Dream it. Invent it. Live it. Love it.