The pace of the world has changed a lot in the past couple of weeks. And it is clear by now that this will carry on for a few more weeks. So be it. Let’s make the best of it, since we have no choice.
However, there is one major decision we make every day that goes by unnoticed and that we should now use the time to become VERY aware of. It governs every single one of our actions and impacts the businesses we build and ultimately the happiness and success we find – or the failure we face. This decision is about our willingness to become aware and put our originality to work. It is just like in the movie “The Matrix”, where the main character, Neo, has to choose between two pills. We too have to make this very impactful choice.
The Blue Pill
This pill blesses you with ignorance. When we decide to take it, we give in to what’s commonly understood as acceptable. We take the calculated risk of doing what someone else has done before, or what others are doing right now. We imitate their behavior and actions in business because we think it is safe, the rules are clear and it will lead to acceptable levels of success. It keeps us in a daze because it offers comfort… a fog of sweet intoxication.
But to mirror someone else’s behavior and take on beliefs that are not your own and use that to shape your organization and inform your actions is imitation- the enemy of originality. Willingly giving up one’s uniqueness is a high price to pay for comfort and playing it safe because it is fleeting: when we run things that are unoriginal, even with the solace of some success, we end up feeling like there is something missing; something we are not seeing- an itch. Like the itch that pushed Neo to question his current life and dive deeper into the truth.
The Red Pill
That itch is our true nature, our personal engine of purpose, reminding us to listen inward and to remember that there is a building plan for true success inside us waiting to be put into action. But it comes at the cost of giving up the imitation game and taking the risk of betting on your true self.
This is what the Red Pill does. It forces us to become aware of who we really are in terms of our true nature. Both as business people and as humans. When we choose to be aware of our nature, we declare openly that we are unique and that we want to express that uniqueness through any means possible. A business is just one of those means.
I always compare this to things in nature. A tree has no choice but to fulfill its purpose according to its nature. An apple tree will bear apples, not pears. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t.
The thing we must do if we want to reach a level of sustained, fulfilling success is stop fooling ourselves into thinking we can “bear fruit” that is not in our nature to bear. Is this simple? Certainly not, because it is so much easier to give into imitating others.
So what can we do?
We must invest time and energy into understanding our true nature. We must ask questions that bring the inside…out, and that is what must drive our actions.
What do I truly believe? (A fundamental, natural belief that resonates with your deepest self and that you would defend to the death)
E.g. “I believe that everyone should have the freedom to learn whatever they want.”
What am I really good at? (A skillset you discovered early on and that grew over time faster than other skills and where you find pleasure)
E.g. “I pick up languages quickly and I love that it helps me communicate better with others.”
What do I care about most? (A state you desire for yourself or others; your state of happiness or the zone where your passion lives)
E.g. “I care most about people feeling safe and valued.” Or “I get lost when I write music.”
What is the biggest, most relevant problem I can tackle? (How do you want to help others)
E.g. “I want to do my part in facilitating access to affordable loans to help small businesses.”
Use the answers to these questions to create a product or service (or enhance what you already have) that people will desire because it makes a difference. When you act according to your true nature, nothing can get in the way of building a business that will bring you lasting, fulfilling success and happiness.
So, what’s it going to be- the Red or the Blue pill?