As I write this Tips for Success, I am sitting on Waikiki Beach, the Jewel of the Pacific. The most famous resort and recreation spot in the world. Don’t worry… I’m not in the sun! Can’t afford any more wrinkles when you are my age. On the other hand, at my age, who gives a royal rip?
As I gaze out over the blue Pacific, I am thinking deeply about an excellent keynote presentation I heard a couple of days ago. The keynote featured James Bradley, son of Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley. John Bradley stands in the middle of the most reproduced photograph in the history of photography. Unfortunately, John Bradley never spoke to his family or friends about that historic moment. After his father’s death, James discovered three boxes of memories his father had saved about Iwo Jima. This discovery launched James on a quest to find and learn more about his father’s past and the past of the other five flag raisers.
The result is The New York Times #1 Best-seller, Flags of Our Fathers. Historian Steven Ambrose called Flags of Our Fathers “the best battle book I’ve ever read.” The New York Times proclaimed Bradley’s book “an arresting meditation of the nature of heroism” and “one of the most instructive and moving books on war and its aftermath that we are likely to see.”
In his presentation, Bradley described the interesting and unlikely background of each soldier and how each and every one of the six flag raisers happened to still be alive and be at that spot at that critical time. It is an inspirational message of overcoming and accomplishing the “impossible.” Bradley described the details of other world-changing events, including the bombing of Japan… deemed by “military experts” to be impossible. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a layman in military terms, did not care if it was impossible. He insisted that the military “find a way to do it.” We found a way and it turned the course of history for all time to come!
Bradley provided numerous examples, making his point that in almost every case, when “impossible” goals, objectives and priorities are accomplished, it is due to the invaluable and unique input and perspective of “outsiders.” People who do not know that the project, dream or goal is impossible.
Bradley concluded his presentation encouraging each person to carefully re-examine the things in our lives we deem “impossible.” Important things we would like to accomplish but have written off as impossible. Bradley encouraged each of us to take the time to sit down and write a specific list of important “impossible” things we would like to accomplish…. important goals, objectives and priorities that have been compartmentalized in our minds as “impossible.” He then encouraged each of us to proactively and consistently seek out, learn from and partner with “outsiders.” People with unique knowledge, expertise and experience who do not know that your particular goal, objective or priority is impossible.
Take the time to allow your mind to not only envision, but to be engulfed by the reality of the ever expanding, ever intriguing universe of personal and professional possibilities. Mentally go there right now. Join me. Our minds and those with whom we partner can take us anywhere we want to go! Anywhere!
I’m looking at a beautiful blue sky accented with a few soft, white, billowing clouds. The beautiful blue Pacific, with sailboats, surfers and yachts, meets the sky somewhere way out there. And, if you and I truly stretch ourselves and go there, the horizon and the universe of possibilities automatically expands to be just as great as when we started.
Hope you join me. “Our minds and those with whom we partner can take us anywhere we want to go!”
I’ll meet you somewhere over the expansive blue Pacific… And don’t forget, bring your list!