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Looking over your shoulders

Students today take away as much from school as a critic does from a movie. A critic walks into the theatre (or plays the movie on her laptop) challenging the movie to leave a mark on her, to make her think and to entertain her. We all know how many movies critics actually end up writing a good review about.

Now imagine a student taking the same approach to her classes, or an employee taking the same approach to her job. If you're waiting for something to be challenging enough before you immerse yourself in it, you may never find one that does, and you'll end up merely doing enough to get by unscathed. We all know how happy such students are to go to school or write exams, and we also know how happy those employees are to get to work.

Next, think about the product you ship. By extrapolating the same approach as the above cases, you end up doing just enough to convince the customer to make a purchase. Which leaves you always looking over your shoulder to see if someone's willing to push the bar just a little bit more forcing you to do the same.

But when that passionate kid comes along who wants to learn more than what is taught in class, and the breath-taking direction or story comes along that wins the Oscar, or that entrepreneur comes along with the sole purpose of providing the users the best experience, no amount of looking over your shoulders will help you catch up with them. We've all tried and failed before.

Why look over the shoulders? Stop keeping up and set the pace. Commit.

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