I once heard a story of a soldier who wanted to go to war but was afraid of dying. Before the war, he thought in himself that if he had his way, he would have asked for a leave or even sought permission for absenteeism from the war front but that would have never been possible. Since he had no other option, he decided to join the rest team as they matched to war but he had a plan. What was his plan? He planned in his heart that in the course of the battle, he was going to get two uniforms, one belonging to his team and the other to the enemies. On getting to the war front, after long hours of battle, he decided to implement his plan. He took the trouser of one of the dead opponent and put it on so he was wearing his team’s uniform as the top and that of the enemy as the trouser. He felt he was safe. His intention was that anytime he came across any other soldier whether from his own end or the opponent’s, he will quickly identify with them and claim to be on their side. He was doing all these just because he never wanted to get shot. He stuck with this plan and to his pleasure the plan saw him through some time on the war front until that moment came.
He found himself in the middle of two soldiers, one from his end, the other from the enemies camp. He tried like he had been doing to identify with both soldiers but this time, his plan failed as the two soldiers were unsure of his true identity. His fellow soldier was confused because he was wearing their uniform along with that of the enemy; he saw him as a betrayer. The enemy was not left out either. He was confused as to where this here-and-there soldier belonged. After moments of deliberation, the two soldiers decided to shoot their joint enemy (the soldier with two different uniforms) and that was how he died on the war front.
Many of us are like this soldier, we don’t want to get shot so we refuse to do the needful. We don’t want our voice criticized so we refuse to sing that song. We don’t want the heartbreaking comments so we leave that book we ought to write to gather dust on our shelf. We don’t want out ideas to face acidic scrutiny so we never implement them. We detest failure so much that we refuse to sail our ship of impact. Safe and comfortable as it seems, this is not how life is meant to be lived. The best way to live life is not to avoid the shots but to prepare for the shots and sometimes call the shots when need be.
That idea you spent time, energy and emotions on will be shot few minutes after you share them (yes, as early as that). People will either try to talk you out of it or criticize it destructively. That product will be shot. Yes, I know you set the stage for it. You learnt all there is to learn on product launching. Product launch formulas rest confidently in your mind. Still, you must prepare for some shots. Maybe you are thinking of acting like that soldier; you had better not. It’s better you take the shots else, you risk going unheard. Don’t take the middle ground; it’s not safe there. Stand for what you believe and take the shots it attracts. Soak in the criticisms. Yes it may be hard but it’s better to take the hard shots than to see your life passion, visions, dreams and potentials waste away all because you don’t want to take the shots.
Nothing works until you make it work. So which will you do, take the shots or die unheard?