The Silicon Valley Way of Thinking
One evening after lights had been turned off at the NASA center in Silicon Valley where Singularity University is located, my colleagues and I sat on bean bags in a circle in the classroom, and talked about the predictions for the future. Rebecca, one of Google’s leading innovators, grabbed a coke, and joined our conversation.
“Thinking about the future is the worst way of thinking about the future. Working on your future is the best way of thinking about your future . You learn only by doing, but herein lies the problem” said Rebecca. “Let’s say you’re in a job. You want to make a change in your life. What do you do?”
“You get another job” someone said. We all laughed, because we’ve all done the same in the past.
“Exactly. You know why?” said Rebecca. “Doing always precedes knowing. You do what you know, and you only know what you have done before. Because you had a job for years, you know how to do that. Because you never had your own startup, you don’t know how to do that. Doing what you don’t know brings fear. Your brain thinks fear is danger—which, by the way, are two different things because you can be afraid for no reason, and you can be in danger without knowing it—and prevents you from stepping into the unknown. You go about doing what you know, because the known gives you a sense of security. So you find another job, and begin the process all over again. You drag the past into the future. Makes sense, right? If you want to create a different future – the one you actually want – you have to do what you haven’t done before.
You must walk into the unknown.”
– from my book, The Pursuit of Dreams
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