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The Revolution is Never External

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No matter how interesting your idea, it is never as unique as you think.

Surprisingly, this is good news. Any idea too revolutionary is hard to place in the mind, and hard to fit into any existing structure. A bike with a motor is easy to understand. A teleportation device is not. So rather than creating a new box (Twitter is… what exactly?), you expand an existing box. This is a much easier process, but unfortunately it is also more competitive.

The true revolution is never actually external. It is not exciting. It has no explosions, and no crowds gather for it. It is a silent, humbling, internal experience which forces you to question assumptions and often makes you feel like a fool. This is the exact opposite of the 30-second sound-byte infomercial we see on the news, or the feature length movie full of drama and backbiting. We need a creation myth, but it is just that– a myth. When the cameras are on, we see stardom, but when they are off, what we don’t see is the everday. (The Situation never has a prostate exam.)

The reason the revolution cannot be televised is because it is internal. You are it, or you are not. That is not exciting unless it is talked about, and if it is talked about, it’s often because it didn’t happen.

The bait is that our environment tells us one thing (brilliant ideas, reality TV stars, etc.) but the reality is silent struggle and examination of previous assumptions, collaboration that could go nowhere, but suddently becomes incredible.

None of this comes from the product itself. All the work comes from within, and it takes time. This is why, when it comes, your success will surprise you. It will not be what you think it is.

* Filed by at 10:54 am under clear thinking


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7 Responses to “The Revolution is Never External”

  1. BarbaraDozetos Says:

    Great points, Julien. I find that I have cheated myself out of opportunity for revolutions/epiphanies because of the noise level (real and virtual) I allow in my life. When I slow down and shut down… sit in a quiet space with an empty note piece of paper and a pen… I am amazed at what bubbles up.

  2. Michelle Russell Says:

    Well said, Julien. It reminds me of the old saying, “(S)he who tells, does not know. (S)he who knows, does not tell.”

  3. Michael Miller Says:

    Great points. I love the video, may have to buy the book. Too often I see executives silo themselves and try to focus on solving the problem themselves “because that’s what they get paid for.” Also says something about the flawed logic in viewing the competition as a enem as opposed to an asset if you engage with them.

  4. Colin Says:

    Hey this is a test comment

  5. Michael Bigger Says:

    The book is great. Highly recommended!

  6. Josh Says:

    How very Seth Godin of you.

  7. Joe Sorge Says:

    Great title that sums this concept Julien, so hard to accept this reality sometimes.

    Wow, that’s quite a video, I must share.
    Need this book, stat.

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