Creating value is one skill, but creating the occasion to create value is another. Both are necessary to experiencing fulfillment in our lives, but often times the latter is what gives us the greatest leverage. Edison is my default example. Not only was he a brilliant inventor, but a brilliant opportunist. And the reason his gifts had such a transformative impact on our society was because he was a master at creating the occasion to create value. Edison’s greatest contribution to this world wasn’t the innovation of the light bulb, it was the process he built that allowed him to pursue innovation systematically. It’s not the guy sat his garage all day, tinkering with wires. Thomas invented an industrial research laboratory where accidental discovery was recurrent. It was a three dimensional platform for solving real problems as a team. There was no dependence on luck or providence, it was simply a function of volume. It wasn’t magic, it was math.
OPPORTUNITY AGENDA -- The inherent enterprise to notice and manufacture creative opportunities, apply force and propel them into interesting directions.
How could you create the occasion to create value? What system could you integrate yourself into so that your skills and talents are fully leveraged? It’s all about building a strong opportunity agenda. Getting more acute at noticing opportunities. Making sharp and decisive strokes without being sidetracked by secondary thought. And propelling your ideas into interesting directions. Even if you don’t have permission. Even if you aren’t the best in the world. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s a trust in the process that can be enough to carry you. And as long as you’re not too attached to the results, you’ll have the time of your life.
Whitley, the blues songwriter whose guitar tuning style changed my brain forever, sang about this sense of freedom his top selling album. Here are the lyrics from the best song on the record. When this is over, over and through, and all them changes have come and passed, I want to meet you in the big sky country, just want to prove mama, love can last, like hallelujah in the big sky country, just like forever and ever is why, be getting over in the big sky country, be kissing time, kissing time goodbye. This music is an exuberant, ethereal and gorgeous work of art, painting a picture of what it must feel like to be truly free. One critic’s review of the album said it perfectly. Montana owns that moniker, but his song seems to be referencing a state of mind more than a particular place.
You need somewhere where the law doesn't interfere, where you can stretch out and be yourself. All of us have access to this place. The big sky country is waiting for us. We can all create the occasions and opportunities that give us the highest probability of success. The challenge is learning how to pursue our dreams systematically. How are you building the house where your freedom resides?
Overcome your dependence on permission
Give projects the highest probability of success
Strengthen your ability to sniff out economic whitespaces
Open up new audiences and marketplaces for your work