Posted on March 14, 2023
I have an assumption about you!
My bet is that you have a big ambition—a dream or blockbuster goal—that you are not pursuing. You’ve probably had this on your wish list for quite a while. You can’t get the idea out of your head. It keeps gnawing at you, but you can’t bring yourself to actually go for it.
Why? Well, you think it’s too audacious. Too impractical or unreasonable. Maybe downright silly or outrageous. So you sit on it, and that’s a damn shame!
Because chances are that dream is yours for the taking. You just need to be unreasonable.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
—George Bernard Shaw
Looking back over my own life, it’s obvious that my most gratifying and most important achievements had their beginnings in naïve ambitions. These goals were far-fetched. Certainly unreasonable. I had no grounds to justify these ambitions as reachable. I had no clear plan, no relevant knowhow or technical skills, no particular social connections to rely on, and nothing but pocket money to fund the efforts.
What I did have in each case was a big dream, a strong desire to achieve the goal, and a naïve belief that it was possible. And magic happened. I could give you numerous examples, but I’ll focus on two stories.
The Moon Discs
I was a junior in high school in a small West Texas town. Three other guys and I wanted to start a rock & roll band. So . . . we did!
I was the singer on rhythm guitar with my younger brother on lead guitar, a guy on bass, and another on drums. The bass player named us the Moon Discs. We ordered cheap guitars and amplifiers from a Sears catalog and the would-be drummer borrowed some drums from the high school band.
It made no sense. All four of us were starting from scratch. We didn’t know how to play the instruments and received zero formal training. It was totally a learn-as-you-go pursuit of the dream. But two years later we won a statewide talent contest in Texas and released a record that hit Billboard magazine’s Top 100.
The Fast-Growth Game of Mergers & Acquisitions
This story is even crazier.
I wanted to play at the biggest table in the business world: the M&A game. More specifically, my big ambition was for my young consulting firm to become the #1 authority on merger integration strategy, and I wanted to write a bestselling book on that topic.
My goals were ridiculous, given that PRITCHETT, LP was a little-known boutique consulting firm in Dallas and as an author I was a nobody. Once again, I was a beginner—the merger world was new territory for me.
Six years later both of my M&A goals were achieved, but only because I actually pursued my naïve ambitions. [Check out www.MergerIntegration.com. And you can find The Employee Guide to Mergers & Acquisitions plus all my other books at www.pritchettnet.com.]
The Work Will Teach You How to Do It
The secret is to pursue your big dream. Relentlessly! Take that blockbuster goal to market!
Don’t talk yourself out of it. Don’t discount your ability. Don’t shy away from the risk and deny yourself the achievement of your greatest possibilities.
Believe in your naïve ambition! At least act like you do.
You may think you don’t have the potential, but the fact is you can develop the potential in the process. Pursuing your goal educates you. You learn, evolve, and grow new skills. You may have to scrounge around, come up with makeshift solutions, and innovate. But the ways and means—the needed resources and capabilities—will surface.
In fact, sometimes it may seem that supernatural powers are at work on your behalf. As Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too, All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred . . . unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
Trust me, Goethe speaks the truth. But nothing happens until you commit yourself.
Let the Magic Begin!
So believe in those dramatic ambitions you’re carrying in your heart. Breathe life into those big dreams. Go forward bravely, naively if you must, but with faith and determination.
That is how you will achieve your true potential.