Sunday, July 25, 2010

Busting Clouds

A very good friend of mine once told me "if you don't believe, then nothing will ever happen.", or something to that effect. All of my life I "believed" that I believed, I mean I am 100% confident that there is a G-d, and that this world was not created from random events, but did I really believe in a power inside and outside of myself that could make things happen in the physical world?

Now before you dismiss me as some sort of new-age fan boy, hear me out. The power of belief is something that everyone needs. One of my favorite stories about belief comes from my Grandfather who was a navigator and bombardier in WWII. He used to tell me of his missions over Europe where it would be a moonless sky (safer for the planes to fly in) and very dark ground beneath. His job was to ensure that when he released his plane's payload, that it hit the intended target. I used to ask him "how did you know when to drop the bombs?" and he would respond "I believed in my instruments, ability and intuition."

Here was a man in a plane thousands of feet in the air moving at hundreds of miles an hour, and all he had at the end of the day to guide him in his mission was belief. That is powerful stuff if you ask me, so why was it that he could believe when I struggled?

I think that the answer is rooted in what he said about intuition. Listening to my "gut" has always been hard for me because I am a thinker. I think and process and then just for good measure, think and process some more. In effect, I am caught in "analysis paralysis" more times than I like to admit. There have been times when fear and uncertainty has literally paralyzed me and caused me not to take action when looking back, I should have.

Now, I am not saying that overnight because of belief I no longer fear or doubt my gut, but what has happened is that I have become something I thought I never world, a risk taker. To prove my point, I recently left a very well paying job with a company that has some serious legs underneath it to join a "small and scrappy" startup in Utah. Why would a self proclaimed doubter do this you may ask? Well it was because my gut told me that it was the right and proper thing to do. Hell, it didn't even take very long to reach that conclusion, it happened almost immediately.

At this company, there is a concept called "cloud busting" which is both a reference to the literal act of making a cloud dissapate with just the power of you, and the figurative act of believing in something and taking the right and proper steps to make it happen. Cloud busting is a core tenant of our belief system and imbues everything that we do. What it has done for me is to allow me to think audaciously and wildly about what can happen if enough power (mind, body, spirit) is put behind a concept. It is what took us as a country to the Moon and back, and it is what drives people to do amazing things, even when other say "it can't be done!"

What does this have to do with IT? I think that it has everything to do with IT. I think that if it was not for belief, we would be using an abacus to figure out our monthly spending and still using a "cubit" to measure stuff (how big is a cubit anyhow?).

I look forward to documenting my journey in this space, and I hope that you will enjoy reading it.

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