I heard a story once about a couple of travelers who, upon coming to a high, seemingly impassable wall, would toss their hats over it first. That way their hats would not fall off while they climbed and, more significantly, they were committed. They had to climb over or else they would never see their hats again.
Turns out that this story was first written by Frank O’Connor in his memoir and was referenced by President Kennedy when he was making a speech dedicating a new Aerospace Health Center in San Antonio in 1963.*
“This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it. Whatever the difficulties they will be overcome…we will climb this wall…and we shall the explore the wonders on the other side.”
What Kennedy had done to toss the nation’s hat over a wall was to make a crazy promise in his first year in office to put a man on the Moon before the decade was over. This was less than a month after the first American (Alan Shepard) went to outer space (and less than 7 weeks after the Russians sent the first human). Really NASA had no idea how they were going to get someone to the Moon let alone get them back in one piece in less than 10 years. But President Kennedy said we were going to do it.
So we tried.
And we did.
So the first action step is to say what you’re going to do. Declare it. Write it down. Tell people about your intention. Then keep saying it. The more often you say it the more power it will have. The more confidently you say it the more power you will have.
Saying you’re going to do something does several important things.
The first is that it commits you to action by putting your goals outside of your imagination and into reality.
Secondly it tells people around about your goal and gives them a chance to support you or too adopt that goal yourself.
Also it makes the goal more concrete and less dreamlike simply because you have to organize the goal into a sentence.
This is how Sacred Fools Theater started. It was just a bunch of brain cells randomly firing inside my skull until I told a few people about the idea. Then I told a few other people. Then I invited them to my house on a Sunday afternoon in January nearly two decades ago (January 19th, 1997…I think).
At that meeting the random group of people I invited became a talked and came up with agreements and plans and structures. We wrote things down and hashed things out and invented stuff.
All of a sudden there was a team, a growing team, of people working on a real project. Like magic we were a theater company.
That started because I opened my mouth.
And here’s an interesting thing about that. When I started talking about it the conversation went like this: “I’m thinking about starting a theater.” My friend would squint and look at me and I would get nervous. I’d think they thought it was a dumb idea or that I had no business starting theater. Then I’d mumble, “Would you want to be part of it?” In nearly every case they responded “YES! I was afraid you weren’t going to ask!”
In my experience, making the statement is the scariest part. After something is out of your brain it takes on a life of it’s own.
More recently I quit drinking. The most important step I took to make that commitment a reality was to announce it on Facebook. That got me a huge amount of positive support for my choice. Honestly I was surprised by that. I was expecting people to be bummed out. I was operating under the delusion that people loved to see me imbibing alcohol. I also got great advice that has helped me stay sober (for 10 months so far). It’s also made my private choice a matter of public record. That a bit of pride keeps me from considering a sip.
So if you have something you want to do. Say it. Say it out loud. Say it to people near you. Declare your intention. Say it before you know how you’re going to do it. Throw your hat over the wall.
|When you decide to do something the first step is to tell someone about your decision.The next step is to tell more people about your decision. Telling people about your intention gives it life and power.|
Three Steps to
* This was November 21. He was killed in Dallas the following day.