Jun 2, 2009

Fushiki, not knowing

Today's characters are sometimes seen on scrolls in the tea room. They read, fushiki, in translation: I know not.

Reaching out into the unknown is a scary thing. I think of explorers, who had to go beyond where anyone else had been. (yes, the final frontier). It drives some people to explore and it terrifies others to go or do or experience something that they had not done before.

For me to try something new and not know the outcome is like exploring, too. Terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. My good friend Larry Toda says, "If your palms are not sweaty occasionally, it means that you are not really living." Really, trying something new is how we stretch and grow.

There was a study done on salespeople and performance. They took high performing salespeople and put them in low yielding territories and took low performing salespeople and put them into high yielding territories. Within a year, the high performing salespeople were back to their income and low performing salespeople were also back to their low sales records. The point of this is that we each have a comfort zone. If we are comfortable with a certain outcome (in this case income level) then we will gradually gravitate to that level. Even when people are miserable, they will only have what they feel comfortable with. It is called the comfort zone.

It seems that high performing people will take risks outside of the comfort zone and low performing people will not. It is not like taking big risks will make you a high performing salesperson, but the attitude of taking small risks helps build confidence in further risk taking. The risk can be as small is finding a new way home from work. The point is to try something that you don't always know what the outcome will be. If one approaches small risks with the attitude, "it will be interesting to see how this turns out," rather than one of success/failure, it takes a lot of the pressure off and one can look at the endeavor as a learning opportunity, no matter what happens.

Risk taking can take many forms, from the physical risks of extreme sports, to being vulnerable enough to love someone. So maybe today you will find a new way home and discover part of your neighborhood you had never seen before. What will the outcome be? Fushiki, I know not.

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