66. Eat The Apple
There's an old story that I'm about to destroy.
You know the story. Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant to the point I am going to make. This has nothing to do with faith.
Here is my personal abridged version:
God created everything and then, on the sixth day, God created Man. Specifically Adam and Eve, the protagonists of this ditty.
God told them, “have fun, make babies, don’t eat the apple” (I paraphrase)
OK, let’s pause here for a second.
Let’s say you are a parent. Let’s say you put a kid in an empty backyard with a jar of candy in the corner. Let’s say you tell the kid to “do anything you want, just don’t eat the candy.”
Are we all in agreement that, given enough time, the kid is eventually going to eat the candy?
I thought so.
Ok, back to the story.
Eve eats the apple.
Yadda yadda yadda, the sweet couple are banished from the Garden and humankind is cursed for eternity.
Fast Forward A Few Millenia
We’ve come a long way since that time in the Garden of Eden. Some of the advancements have been beautiful, some horrendous.
According to the story, Adam and Eve created all of this. At least they were the first humans from which all followed (including Noah).
If Adam and Eve looked down today on their 7 billion descendants, and if they recognized how their legend and influence has thrived, I bet they’d pretty much be in awe of what they created.
You know what, hold that thought. We’ll get back to this in a minute. First I have another story for you.
The Twenty Dollar Bill
A couple of decades ago I was in the music business. This was in the mid-90s, well before streaming. Think AOL in it’s early mail-you-an-installation-disc days.
I started my own record label: I found bands that I thought were good, signed them to a record deal, produced albums, marketed and sold those albums.
One day I received in the mail an envelope from somebody I didn’t know. I opened it up to find a $20 bill and a letter saying “can you send me a CD, I hope $20 is enough”
I was surprised and amazed. I said to myself (probably out loud), “If one person is willing to find my company address in pre-Internet days and send me $20, there may very well be lots of others willing to also send me $20.”
Then I did one of those dramatic things where you just stand still and stare into space for awhile.
Soon after I came back to reality, I whipped up a mail order catalog, copied that baby off at Kinko’s, sent a CD to the guy and included a bunch of catalogs for him to give to his friends.
A couple of weeks later another letter with $20 arrived. Then another. And another. Indeed, lots of people were eager and willing to order directly from my company.
There was clearly an opportunity, so I leaned into it. I built a website, added products from other companies and eventually turned that initial $20 bill into a $5m company with a catalog of over 2,000 items.
With just one envelope, I saw an opportunity, assessed the risk, did what I could to mitigate the risk, and pressed forward with little more than faith.
The Entrepreneur In You
Back to Eve.
She and her hubby were living in a world that was stagnant. She made a conscious and calculated risk that eating the apple would bring better things than simply staying in the Garden with Adam.
And therein lies the similarity between me, Eve and every entrepreneur that has existed since her hypothetical time. We all saw what we thought could be an opportunity, we assessed our options and took calculated risks.
In a world of uncertainty, I dared to follow the $20 bill - and Eve dared to eat the apple.
Every innovator or entrepreneur in history has been told by somebody at sometime that their idea is full of crap. That it’s never going to work. That they are insane for even trying.
Legend has it that Michelangelo’s mother tried to force him to become a doctor or lawyer after he told her he wanted to lay down on a ladder for a few years to paint a ceiling.
OK, I lied about that last one, but you get what I mean.
Don’t Go Changin’
Change is scary for most people. It’s so easy to remain in your comfort zone. It’s simple to be stuck in the status quo. That’s the very reason it’s called the status quo.
It’s easier to sleep in than it is to go exercise. It’s easier to order fast food than it is to cook healthy. It’s easier to stay in your job than it is to change; to stay stagnant than it is to grow.
Change isn’t easy. Growth isn’t easy.
But easy isn’t what breeds success. Easy isn’t what you look back upon with pride. Easy doesn’t grow companies or stretch boundaries.
As the saying goes, “if there’s anything god-like about God, it’s that She dared to imagine everything.”
And that’s the amazing thing about Eve - she dared to dream. She dared to take a chance - a calculated risk. In so doing, she created everything.
So what are your goals this year? Who do you want to be by your next birthday? What should your company or career look like two years down the road? What’s stopping you from getting there?
Every day you should be thinking of what chance you can take to push outside of the box and towards your goal. Because with great risk comes great reward.
Now is the time.
Eat the apple.