I look back sometimes and realize how foolish I’ve been. Maybe not a “fool” but just naive at my skills or my situation. You might say, so foolish that I didn’t even realize what exactly I was about to take on. 

I can remember when I was around the age of 16 or 17 years old, my parents most graciously help me get a new used car.  As most teenagers’ love for their first car, my new ride was simply amazing to me. A silver 1998 Ford Contour sedan.  To my friends, we called it the “Pimptour”, because it was so sweet. At least to me it was.

1998 ford contour sedan

Of course, new car love does wear thin after a few months and simply I was not as satisfied anymore. While I had a sweet ride, I wanted the next best thing.  All the bells and doodads that brand new cars had. I wanted a keyless remote entry. 

Back in the late 1990s, this was not yet standard on entry-level vehicles. But for a hundred bucks, you could buy an aftermarket system that should be installed by a professional.   Well, working at a part-time job in high school I didn’t quite have the resources to have it professionally installed. Needless to say with a bit of sweat and false starts, I somehow rewired my car’s electronics system to fit this remote entry system.  I still wonder exactly how I did that today.  

Call it creative problem solving I guess but if I wasn’t so foolish, I would have never attempted to try.  In fact, I went on to inspire my father to do the same with his 2004 Dodge Stratus. Although he had to have his “programmed” by the car dealer and the newer models just required a module.

Foolishness sometimes pays off.  

Fools sometimes finish first because they are so dumb or so unaware of that other people think, that they go forth and proceed with little hesitation.   I can think of several examples in my life where I was maybe so naive at my skills or my ego overinflated my judgment. 

Sometimes this can cause problems, I remember interviewing for a job/internship where I was so confident that I was a shoo-in to the program, that I sort of maybe came across as arrogant in the interview.   This in the end worked out because it would have probably changed the course of my career for the worse.   

Also, that sometimes naively is needed as if you are so worried bout the outcome you will never even make it to the interview. 

Balancing got giving a hoot on what others think and shipping your work. 

Feedback is a critical component of all communication. Listening is the first key to quality leadership but also a leader is the chief inspiration officer.  Going with your gut and leading your troops into the front line has a lot of merits.   That is where “fools” become heroes.    There are so many business ideas where the founder is laughed at or told it will never work, yet today we AirBNB and Uber our way all across the world. 

Just remember, whenever you create something, start something or simply just jump in both feet first, realize that others may criticize you behind your back or side-handed comments. At the same time, someone else just might be admiring exactly what you’re doing. Go find them.