I had an inspiration this morning: I woke up early. I made myself a cup of tea, went back to bed, and read a little.
About an hour later I woke up from a dream of writing THIS article. Here it is, just the way it came to me in my dream:
Each great thing that was ever built started with something that had the greatness, as a potential only.
Most didn’t look like the start of something great. Many times it was a comedy of errors and their correction that took someone to something big.
But, you say, we are always told to create with the big picture in mind… Oh yes, that one. I know that well. The misunderstanding of that notion has robbed me of many successes…
The misunderstanding of that principle has rendered me indecisive, unresponsive, tentative, or jumping from one sure thing to another.
Imagine if the tree thought that every seed it is producing must become a big tree… it would be so afraid of living, it would start to shrink and refuse to go to seed. The prospect of so many wasted seeds would kill the tree’s aliveness and creativity.
No, greatness is a potential, dormant in every little seed, and with enough great little seeds produced, one of them may become a big tree…
Let’s look at MY story.
Back in 1988 I found myself unemployed from architecture, and unemployable at the same time… don’t ask me why, I won’t tell.
I was spending quite a few months depressed, going to self help programs, 12-step, Werner Erhard and Associates, etc. … barely having 3-day worth of work a month to live on.
I couldn’t think of anything to do… I was too entrenched in being an architect. At some point, I did an exercise from the “What Color Is Your Parachute” and found that what I wanted to do, that caused me pleasure, is “put ink on paper and communicate.”
I took it literally at the time, and thought advertising or publishing.
I didn’t know much of either.
I went and apprenticed (free) with a small printer for a while, and learned some stuff, bought a letter press with some letters, wrote advertising in mail order magazines… to sell some pyramid schemes… and then when I really needed some money to earn, I wrote a letter to the two throw-away magazines in my area, asking if they had a job opening for publisher’s apprentice.
One of them called and said that such a job didn’t exist but I could start selling advertising. No “draw” (salary), only commission. Does that put me closer to publishing, I asked, and the guy said yes. I took the job.
I was trained by another salesperson. We visited a few stores in my town–typical advertisers in that paper. We sold 5 small ads that day. I say “we”, but I think it was her. That day completed my training. Next day I walked back to the business area of my little town, and found that by the time I got there, the training salesperson had driven there and sold them, or attempted to. I had no wheels, and soon I had no hope.
I called the other magazine, and bragged that I had sold 7 ads my first week for their competitor… they were impressed. They gave me a 200 dollar advance, and a beat up car with a gas card.
I worked my butt off, sold ads, delivered magazines, partook in every office meeting, went to the printer, went to the typesetter, collected monies… two months later, I was put in charge of designing the ads and laying out the magazine. Two more months later I was offered a partnership in the magazine. Still, my best week I made $400… I didn’t have many good weeks.
I worked 20 hours a day 7 days a week… I was bossy, I was certain, I was “dynamic”, I was disrespectful… 5 months later I was offered the choice to resign, or… it was blackmail. I resigned. No-brainer.
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