“Courage can be developed. But it cannot be nurtured in an environment that eliminates all risks, all difficulty, all dangers. It takes considerable courage to work in an environment in which one is compensated according to one’s performance. Most affluent people have courage. What evidence supports this statement? Most affluent people in America are either business owners or employees who are paid on an incentive basis.”— Dr. Thomas Stanley
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
There are plenty of things you could do today to make the world a better place. There are plenty of small steps that, were you to take them, would help move your life forward. Don’t excuse yourself from doing them because the conditions aren’t right or because a better opportunity might come along soon. Do what you can, now. And when you’ve done it, keep it in perspective and be pleased with the result.
Not that pragmatism is inherently at odds with idealism or pushing the ball forward. The first iPhone was revolutionary, but it still shipped without a copy-and-paste function or a handful of other features Apple would have liked to include. Steve Jobs, that supposed perfectionist, knew that at some point you have to compromise. What mattered was that you produced something and it worked.
We want things to go perfectly, so we naturally tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we have our bearings, when, really, it would be better to focus on making do with how things actually are.