Who Knows What Could Happen If You Raise Your Hand?

I’ve been a long-time supporter of the BizWorld Foundation; we deploy entreprenership curriculum into 5th grade classrooms. Since I’m in Europe I couldn’t speak at one of our recent youth events so I asked my buddy Ramit Sethi to go and on his blog he relays his experience. He did a wonderful exercise.

After giving them a simple overview of entrepreneurship–"entrepreneurs think about failure differently, take initiative, and challenge assumptions"–one of the things I said was, "Who thinks they can do something risky right now?" A few of them raised their hand, so I picked one of the students out and asked him to come up to the front of the room, where I gave him $5 and had everyone applaud him. His name was Em. See, I told them, there are 2 lessons I see:

1. Sometimes you can get great things just by raising your hand.
2. The world isn’t really fair. A few students raised their hand, but I picked him for no good reason. It’s easy to get discouraged, but the people who want to succeed will shrug it off and keep trying next time something like this happens.

This is similar to my post about calling that person you’ve always wanted to know. Who knows what could happen? The "worse case" scenario in Ramit’s exercise and in a cold call is embarrassment. It’s amazing how much fear of embarrassment drives our actions. As Steve Jobs said,

Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.

One Response to Who Knows What Could Happen If You Raise Your Hand?

  1. I just wanted to leave a comment to say that was a fantastic exercise your friend orchestrated for the kids! I bet that one boy who was chosen will never forget it and will be all the more willing to take risks because of it. Cool stuff!!

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