Yesterday I had a book signing for Unsuited at Chapters Chinook Center in Calgary. It was a fun event, I sold quite a few books, met a lot of interesting people, and even got a couple public speaking offers.
During the event, I met a very interesting man – he had spent most of his professional life in marketing and now was in the twilight of his career, and had also made a move into writing. His passion was travelling, exploring and observing new cultures and acting in his words as “an amateur reporter of sorts.”
It was a great conversation, and he was a very interesting individual, we shared many similar ideas about marketing theory as well as empowerment mindset. Then he said something to me, which as I reflected on it later that night, resonated as very profound.
I’ll summarize, in my words, the concept that he shared:
He said that, among other things, what truly distinguishes the human race from other primates is our ability, perhaps even our necessity, to share stories and ideas with each other, in a way that we take those ideas, act on them, synthesize and make our own inferences about them, add our own experiences and learnings to them, and then share our “updated ideas” with future generations. As a result, humanity is an evolving, unbroken chain of ideas and inspiration, each generation building on the ideas and inspiration from the past, and sharing their ideas and inspiration with future generations.
I thought a lot about this concept last night after we spoke. I thought about my book, and how I was inspired by so many people, and so many ideas to write it, and how my life has been the product of acting on the ideas and inspiration that I receive, synthesizing it, making my own inferences from observation, and from that process sharing my own ideas with other people. In that way I had become a link in a chain of inspiration.
I thought a lot last night about what the requirements were be part of this chain: what does one have to do to become a link?
I think there are three things that an individual must do:
1. Be willing to learn: You have to read. You have to learn. You have to find out ideas from those who went before you – in whatever field of endeavour you are attempting to accomplish.
2. Be willing to act: You have to act. If you don’t act then you can’t make your own inferences. You can’t have your own unique voice if you are merely an observer. You have to participate. Win or lose. Success or failure. Action is a requirement to entrance in this chain.
3. Be willing to share: You have to care enough about other people to share what you’ve learned, and the things that you have built on from past ideas. Sharing can be done in many ways, but you have to reach beyond yourself and share what you believe, and what you’ve learned, with others.
Learning. Acting. Sharing. Each takes time and persistence. The last two take courage.
Become a link in the chain of inspiration.