Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. – Niccolò Machiavelli
What does that mean?
This is a twitter-friendly excerpt from a larger quote: “All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger, but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
This quote is another action-oriented quote. It recognises that life is full of risk. Think about that for a moment, every action, including inaction, has some level of risk. The quote continues by saying that the most prudent strategy isn’t to avoid danger, as danger is the consequence of risk.
The most prudent strategy, according to the quote, is to think about your plan, manage the risk, make a decision and act in a decisive manner. It urges us to make mistakes of action, of doing, instead of sloth, or not doing (because we’re human and we will make mistakes). It also urges us to develop our strength not to be able to suffer, but to develop the strength to do bold things.
Why is developing the strength to do bold things important?
This quote is about getting things done. Big things. Bold things. To have the vision and imagination to come up with big, bold plans. And then to have the strength and guts to take decisive action. This is not the kind of advice one gives to the meek, this was advice to the Princes of the Italian City-States.
By developing the strength and discipline to take bold decisive action, we can accomplish anything we can imagine. Risk management is implied in the quote, but this is about developing the strength or the habit of doing the bold things you have imagined.
Where can I apply this in my life?
While most of us aren’t Princes of a Renaissance City-State, we are each the captain our own ship, the master of our own fate. Will you take the risk to approach the person you’re interested in (business, romance, whatever your reason might be), or risk not getting another chance to speak to them?
Will you be bold enough to ask them your question? Will you make the decision and take action, or will you waffle until they leave or the moment is gone? You have the possibility of a bold, strong, and decisive future, or not.
While you many not want to be history, they rarely write about those who fall into the category of ‘not.’ That’s because those who do things are interesting and accomplish things. The others, while more numerous, don’t get enough done to make much of a difference, do they?
What great ideas have you had? Ever thought of running for political office? Have you had an idea for an invention? Had a neat idea for a product to produce or a service to sell? For most of us, even these steps are really big ones, one that might not be the best thing for starting out.
What ideas have you had for something relatively small and relatively inexpensive? A weekend getaway or short vacation? A day trip to a zoo and try to stare down a lion? A quick run to an airport to jump out of a completely serviceable aircraft (skydiving)?
Hopefully, you haven’t been just sitting on the couch, making mistakes of sloth and developing your strength to suffer. For a dedicated couch potato, a bold decision might be a walk in the park, literally. Then they can work up to a picnic with a friend or two. Perhaps the less mechanically inclined might want to try to change their own oil or spark plugs, or even practice changing a tire.
What would be bold and ambitious for you? Grab some paper and write at least three things down that you would consider bold and ambitious. Think about each for a few moments and select the one you feel would be the most interesting to work on and accomplish.
Now that you have a goal, it’s time to research and plan. Break it down into steps, then figure out how you will accomplish each step. Then break each of the first few steps into smaller steps and make sure you can do them, or have friends who can help, or know someone you can hire (cash or beer and pizza?).
Repeat this process until you have steps that you know how to do (or who will do them for you). Time to stop talking, the bold thinking has been done and the plan is ready. Time to decide, and take action. Take one last look at the plan and make sure you’re ready, then decide to do it.
“Action!” Shouts the director, and things begin to happen. You’re the director in the movie of your life. Make it a movie people would want to watch.
From: Twitter, @BradHoward
confirmed at : http://philosophersnotes.com/quotes/by_topic/Strength
Photo by Curtis Morton-Lowerlighter