Words Worth Repeating #7: Richard Tait

“Orville Wright didn’t have a pilot’s license.” - Richard Tait

I’ve never heard of Richard Tait, but he sure does illustrate the point. With all our talk lately about how to channel an initial pang of hunger into a plan of action, we’d do well to zero in on how the transition from sheer passion to impassioned work realistically happens.

So, that’s where we find ourselves. There are plenty of personal anecdotes out there that would provide ideas for how to get started. But you can talk amongst yourselves about those. If we were to boil it down, taking that first step depends on one fundamental rule.

Don’t waste too much time in the ramp-up phase. It’s a recipe for inaction. This translates into many things, one of which has to do with schoolin’. As Mr. Wright could have told us, making changes to the world doesn’t necessarily require a third party to announce your legitimacy before you’re allowed lift a finger.

Of course this doesn’t apply to everything. Me, I like my doctor to have a shiny diploma hanging where I can see it.

But sometimes, the ready-made framework for doing something can be more stifling than enabling. Don’t let a degree distract you from earning real-world chops. If you feel a sense of injustice about the society that surrounds you, go be the next Che Guevara. If you find you have a knack for entrepreneurship and for a budding technology, go be the next Bill Gates. And who didn’t love Good Will Hunting? Or Ernest Hemingway, for that matter. I, at least, have a soft spot for writers who craft their own voice by working through trial and error -- not with excessive formal training.

The point is that if you have the zeal and the skill to do something, there’s a good chance you can make a go of it now. Not after you do this, that, or the other thing.

Try honing your own ability to set the right goals at the right time. Doing that is a question of being able to take calculated risks, and it’s a matter of trusting your instinct. But that’s a subject we’ll take up next time.