Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work – Thomas Edison
It seems to me that personal progress depends on a couple of things. First, think.
You may need to stop what you're already doing.
In an age when the "creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers" win, events like the IdeaFestival offer a place to make that new connection, whether it's with a handshake or because of that synaptic snap, crackle and pop when what you've just seen or heard finally registers. That's been true for me.
From Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I learned history will occasionally deliver overwhelming news from the clear blue. It just happens. I learned from Jane McGonigal that games can be used to make a better reality rather than as an escape from it. I learned from Teller that knowing the secrets behind the curtain didn't diminish the joy of staring slack-jawed at dancing golden spheres. I learned from Burt Rutan that with supreme imagination and damn-the-critics determination, we can trip to space in safety and return in comfort. Someday, I'll do that. The elfin and poised Daniel Tammet said last year that when we think in similes and puns, we're thinking not unlike a savant. I learned that his prodigious mathematical and language abilities are not so far removed from yours or mine. The IdeaFestival is about "this too."
From Vova Galchenko, I learned that opportunity also depends a willingness to get our hands dirty in the business of trying and failing. Have a listen to his IF Conversation above, because as a world champion juggler, this bit of joyful self-expression takes years of work.
I hope to see you at IdeaFestival 2011! The lowest priced all-access passes of the year are on sale through the remainder of today. On Thursday, the price goes up. You can make your purchase here.