"Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Case for Boldness

"Let us seek, in the depths of our experience, the point where we feel ourselves most intimately within our own life." - Henri Bergson

Boldness is a semantically loaded word. It conveys a number of things. To the German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, boldness was said to have "genius, power, and magic." Boldness is specifically an action taken that is outside the typical realm of common experience, highly risky, and simultaneously highly profitable.

Boldness involves no inherent guarantee, only that of a new experience; which in and of itself is valuable. Boldness, however, I suggest is the one principle that has produced the highest reward in each of our lives.

In the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin he begins the story of his noble life with such a bold stroke:

"I sold my books to raise a little money, was taken on board the sloop privately, had a fair wind, and in three days found myself at New York, near three hundred miles from my home, at the age of seventeen, without the least recommendation or knowledge of any person in the place, and very little money in my pocket."

Peter Drucker, the 20th Century Management icon, boldly gave up a promising and lucrative career in finance to pursue his dream in management consulting, when such a practice was still in its infancy.

In a more personal commonplace scenario; through our surveying of our current life and personal history, we can probably locate an act of boldness that initiated a train of events to lead us to who we have become today.

To add to Goethe's description of boldness I would further suggest that boldness is absolute faith in oneself, an uncompromising desire for success, and that which breathes divinity into the present. Boldness expands our boundaries - whether mental or physical.

To boldly commit to acquiring a new competency opens a new dimension of experience. To boldly exert ourselves through rigorous exercise makes our bodies adapt to a higher level of function and performance. To boldly speak when shy, to boldly ask when afraid, to boldly do when unsure, and to boldly give when someone's in need...this is life - unapologetic and free.

Angel Armendariz

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