The Possibility of Success

July 18, 2006 on 8:35 pm | In Human Systems | Comments Off on The Possibility of Success

In a previous post I mentioned “Cirque du Soleil The Spark,” a tale about a sports agent who, having lost his focus and his orignal driving passion, enters the world of the circus and rediscovers his creativity and inspiration.

One short passage has the protagonist, Frank Castle, being taught how to manage jumping up to a trapeze while on bungee cords — at some height. He is very apprehensive and this apprehension actually keeps him from accomplishing the task for a while. Of course when he lets go of his fears he is able to reach the trapeze bar. He reflects internally:

“It’s amazing how much we fear the unknown — even though the unknown carries with it the possibility of success. We are so determined to stick to our comfort zones that we learn to live with disappointment, as long as it’s familiar and safe….Our fears hold us back, make us fall short of our goals. Only by taking risks can we hope to accomplish the extraordinary.”

Librarians I know are extraordinary people. Yet whole organizations of these wonderful people settle for “pretty good” and sometimes mediocre due, I believe, to this fear of possible success. What would happen if we were wildly successful? What kinds of decisions and choices would we make?

I believe there are many extraordinary libraries but something about the fear of success fable in The Spark made me think of the many times I’ve heard librarians say “what if we can’t handle the success of xyz service?”  Certainly we don’t want to live with disappointment in ourselves and our institutions.

What might be some ways of connecting with risk that allow us to actually take advantage of our natural passions for excellence?

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