Think about a major project you took on or a major achievement in your life and consider what you didn't know when you started. If you knew all the roadblocks that you would face, if you knew about the setbacks, the challenges, and the "failure" that perhaps came, could you do it again? Would you do it again? If you knew what you didn't know then, would you do it again? If you knew what you didn't know then, could you have done it better or differently?
Always when we start something new, we don't know what we don't know. When we watch others, we are often tempted to point out the flaws in what they are doing but we aren't so quick to accept what others may see as flaws in what we do. We know what we know. We believe what we want to believe.
The people who have achieved the greatest success in the world defied conventional wisdom and created a completely new path. That doesn't mean they ignored everyone around them. They used what they had to chart uncharted waters. They went into a wilderness. They imagined something totally new and different. They somehow overcame the devastating effect that being wrong a lot can create. They did not quit.
But it's more than not quitting. It's about finding the right balance for the garden to grow. The garden needs seeds, warmth and sunshine, water to sustain, and fertilizer for growth and expansion. Your project needs these three ingredients to succeed.
The seed is the idea. An idea is worth absolutely nothing without warmth and sunshine, water and fertilizer. A seed - an idea - dies without those. A seed can do nothing on its own. All the other things - sunshine, water and fertilizer - grow nothing without the seed. A seed is the most magical ingredient. But don't get too egotistical about a seed. A seed is nothing without sunshine, water and fertilizer. It's the tiny part of the garden process. The rest requires real work.
Plant that seed. Then give it warmth and sunshine.
The warmth and sunshine are the passion and inspiration. GROW SEED GROW. This is the hope but hope must continue throughout the life of the nurtured seed. Passion and inspiration have to continue through the life of the project. Warmth and sunshine are always part of the lifeline. No project - no seed - will continue to grow without it.
Water is the day to day discipline. It's the invisible and clear sustainable thing that all projects require. It's the timing and the ebb and flow - just enough and not too much - routine of things. Give enough to grow and not too much to drown. While the sunshine - vision - steers and guides - the water weaves its path gently and drives the course of the current. Too much water will wash a garden away. Discipline - ebb and flow - easy course - is the answer.
The fertilizer is underground "shit". It's the quick jolt of energy needed to provide long term results. This is the PH balance of your project. Get that just right and the seedling is very happy. Overdo it and it can burn out the entire garden and no amount of sunshine or water able to overcome it. Be very careful with fertilizer. That can be start up cash, quick infusions of cash, investment in high cost staff, or any other high energy investment meant to jump start a project. Be careful handling fertilizer. It's very important. If you want your garden to grow, you have to add it. But just like too much sunshine and water, it can kill a garden.
Finally, not every seed in your garden requires the same amount of sunshine, water and fertilizer. They each have their own needs. They each have their own balance. The garden you grew some other place will have different balance in a new place. Seasons will teach you. Time will help you. Listen. Hear. Touch. See. And don't be afraid to learn what you don't know. None of us knows what we don't know.