Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't Stop Believing

One of my profile picks is entitled "Believing". It's about giving up a belief about something being impossible. It concerned the quest for the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes. For decades, humans had attempted to run a sub-four minute mile. When it was finally accomplished in 1954, another runner managed to do it a mere 56 days later. Within three years, 16 other runners had accomplished the feat.

This was many years before the founding of Nike or Reebok. Hence, the sudden appearance of numerous sub-four minute milers was not due to improved running shoes. What happened is that they gave up a belief about it being impossible because they knew someone had done it.

A question posed on Quora made me think of that. The question was why the US was such a good place for start-ups, especially Silicon Valley. Robert Scoble provided the most highly rated answer listing nine reasons, such as access to funding and talent and so forth. He concluded however after these nine reasons, that the main thing is belief. People are surrounded with examples of successful start-ups. They believe it can be done because they've seen it accomplished many times. As Robert Scoble wrote:
It's the belief that really gets things going here. That causes people to take risks (and be backed up by friends, family, and community). That rarely happens around the world.
I suppose the reverse is also often true. If you believe you live somewhere where people can't get ahead because there are too many taxes, regulations, expenses, or whatever, you won't even try. Your belief system can cause you to wake up everyday in the wrong universe.

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