His body quivered as his brashness cracked. His last words — “Let’s do it” — unleashed five hot bullets, easily sliding through his upper chest and then cooling in the wood and sandbags behind him. In 1977 Gary Gilmore had a debt to pay to the people of Utah for killing Max Jensen and Bennie Bushnell.
There is a boldness that sparks romance, stops folly and grabs at opportunity. There is brashness that strangles relationships and wastes creative thought. Productive boldness can save your career and launch your business.
Forget Zeus, Make Friends with Thrasos
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Zeus might be the most well-known of the gods but there is another who might do you more good. If you could choose your own version of a Greek god, then Thrasos would be a good bet. Who wouldn’t want to be the god of bold action? This mythological incarnation of courage and decisive action positions you to start that book, launch that idea or firmly request more responsibility (and pay).
The Boldness of Thrasos emerges from a firm belief in yourself — even with your flaws. You might not have the solution for every life mystery or career roadblock yet, but you hold your head high and give it a shot. Bold people trust their instincts because they trust the power of their brains.
Sometimes your brain initiates an action before your conscious mind recognizes what’s happening. You have already begun to move a finger, a hand, a leg, your head prior to being aware of it. It is as if your brain decided to “eat the cake” and apologize later. This fait-accompli dynamic is often used in negotiating and persuasion. The act is done so stay strong and hold your ground. Ask yourself, “What would Thrasos do?”
Boldness comes in believing that your brain has collected enough information to make a good decision without forcing you to take your limited attention to focus on it. Quite often, chances are good you will make a solid decision or offer a brilliant contribution — you just aren›t aware of it. With its 100 billion neurons, the brain is the most complicated object in the universe. And those neurons can live more than 100 years. This means a connection made decades ago in your brain can still offer up useful information. Something you cannot even remember can give you a hunch or inclination to pick one direction over another.
Because of the number and longevity of your brain’s neurons, bits of data can always be summoned and forcibly “married” to other bits of data (rolestorming). This rewiring of the brain — neuroplasticity — helps explain why exposure to travel, classes, exercise, music and new events (in real life or through taking on a role) keeps the brain agile and responsive to a changing world. If we trust our brains, we can trust our boldness. It is OK to speak up without always thinking of what to say. At times, we can make quick decisions or offer a crazy idea knowing that our brain has done the grunt work and will call upon its already existing neural networks or make some new ones. In either case, if we trust this mental bank account it increases our confidence and is ready to invest in managing our problems and devouring opportunities.
Gary Gilmore’s brashness went to tragic extremes, and he paid the price. Jonah Lehrer, in his book Imagine, recounts the story of how advertising executive, Dan Wieden, parlayed recent trivia in his brain into a world-recognized brand.
Days before a meeting with Nike, someone had mentioned Norman Mailer›s book about the Utah murders. Gilmore’s last words, «Let›s do it,” stuck in his memory. Wieden describes the process, «And that was it. That›s where the slogan came from. Just a little sentence from someone else. That›s all it takes.» Unconnected data points combined to squeeze out one of the boldest and most memorable ad slogans of all time — Just Do It.
Rick Griggs is a former Intel Corp. training manager and inventor of the rolestorming creativity tool. He runs the 10-month Leadership Mastery Academy. email@example.com or 970-690-7327.