Fear Of One

What if you are told to deliver something perfect in one shot?

If you are anything like me — a startup founder, a programmer or a writer or anyone who creates something — you must have gone through this feeling that I ended up calling, “Fear Of One”.

Whenever I begin creating something, I am excited to jump into it and do it immediately but as soon as I lift my foot to take the first step, I am frightened of not making the perfect first step.

The fear doesn’t stop me from taking the first step. Remember, I’ve already lifted up my foot but then it makes the foot stuck in the air because I don’t want my first step to be anything less than perfect. This happens every time, even after realizing in hindsight that the first step didn’t actually matter much in my previous endeavors.

I remember a story that someone once told me. Once upon a time, a pottery teacher divided her class in two groups. Both of the groups were given the homework for the weekend to make pots.

First group was asked to make one and only one pot each, and they would be scored how fine of a pot one could make. Second group, however, was asked to make as many pots as they can each, and they would be scored on how many pots one could make.

The students spent their weekends on their homework and came to school for the submissions on Monday. Many students in the first group didn’t even do the homework; they came empty handed. Each of the student in the second group brought along many pots with them — each with its own shape and size.

After the submission, the teacher told the students.

“Students in the first group had only once chance to make the best pot that they could and the thought, ‘What if my pot doesn’t turn out perfect in the first attempt?’ paralyzed them. While on the other hand, the students in the other group kept making pots after pots because they didn’t care if each of their pots would be perfect. In fact, if you see the pots, each pot is better than the previous one and the last pot that they made is strikingly excellent than the first pot that they made.”

The students were in awe. The teacher concluded, “Think of anything in your life as a series of pots rather than just one pot. When you do this, you will realize that the first pot doesn’t matter much as long as there’s a better pot built next.”

I feel the same about this blog — Symphony. The blog was set up a few days ago but I was paralyzed thinking what perfect blog post should I begin it with. Only after a couple of days — today, I realized I was behaving like the students in the first group of that pottery class. Upon realization, I sat down writing the first blog post. This blog post. It may not be perfect but it is a start.

Symphony is the blog brought to you by people behind Horntell. On it, you will get to read the thoughts by us and others on startups, technology, marketing and future. Each of these things are not monolithic, instead they are made up of hundreds of little things working together in rhythm creating the Symphony. That’s why the name.

Oh and yes, going back to that pottery class, as the teacher told the students, “You don’t have to stay paralyzed because you think you’ve just got one chance. You’ve got many.”

In your career, it’s okay to blow up at one job. There’s another waiting (as long as you didn’t do anything unethical or illegal). In your software product, it’s okay to screw up one feature. It was just an experiment. On a blog, it’s okay to write one crappy post. Inspiration will strike better the next time. As long as we believe that there are many pots to be made, one badly shaped pot doesn’t matter.

Welcome to Symphony!


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