Think Can-Do In The New Year

I’m sitting here New Year’s morning eyeing the Rose Bowl Parade, still chuckling from a traditional evening of Marx Brothers and thinking on the year to come. It’s been a year of change for the Schlegel household, change that has been absorbed, embraced and adapted to establish our next launchpad. Thanks to all who have taken part, helped and encouraged.

I grew up in the sixties on a healthy mix of impossible plans, building models of Apollo Saturn V’s and experimenting with solar cells. While I didn’t pursue a life in space, the mindset that practically anything is within the reach of a determined group never left me. Call me a product of Chicago where Birnham’s charge still sets the tone:

“Make no small plans: they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”

Double negative aside, it’s a neat way to live.

Is there hope in the new year? I taught entrepreneurship to undergrads at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business last semester and it helped recharge my own creative batteries. Why can’t we improve transportation? Why can’t we make housing easier? Why can’t we change the world? No reason. Building businesses and organizations that improve lives is hard, but never impossible. The students get that.

Good to see that American Dreams are alive and well as we head into 2011.

So what are my wishes for the new year?

For us all to have Big Plans. Impossible Plans. Amazing Plans. Get them on the table. Talk about them, argue them through.

Plow the road for entrepreneurs and visionaries. Bring on the FultonsFords and Wrights. Let loose the HewlettsAndreessensJobs and Wilsons.

Create the economic playing fields that will usher in the next round of prosperity, protect the environment and improve life on (and off?) our planet.

I’ve never been one for giving things up in the new year. I’ve found it easier to replace a bad habit with a new, hopefully better one. Let’s get back to running forward on the path of what we can do, what we want to do.

Yup. Think Can-Do. It’s the mindset of 2011.

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Many thanks to all of you who read and comment here at Frogblog. Your additions make this a much more interesting place.  Happy New Year.

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14 Responses to Think Can-Do In The New Year

  1. kay plantes says:

    Wonderful advice as we head into the second decade of the 21st century, Fred. I taught social entrepreneurship and it changed my view as well. Read this month’s article by Michael Porter in Harvard Business Review for a compelling argument for why social entrepreneurship matters and how to approach it. This article will help you think positively again about capitalism, which I feel always has the power to make the world a better place if leaders hold that in their hearts. Happy New Year!

  2. Lennie Rose says:

    Hi Fred! I’m with you on inspired plans. For me, this is the Year of Good Choices. Putting the HOW into the equation – blocking out the milestones and scaling up.

    When the mission is there, the revenue model must follow! Kay – thanks for the tip on the Harvard Review for social entrepreneurship.

    Henry Ford said, “you can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do”. And Harriet Tubman said, every great dream begins with a dreamer”

    So this year, those are both my personal and professional goals – the what, the what if and how.

    Happy New Year – leap high and stand strong!

  3. Bill Welter says:

    Fred,
    Thanks for the advice — I wish you a great 2011.

  4. Paul C says:

    I like the perspective you have provided here about your past year. Interesting that your creative energies have been cultivated with your teaching. I like the motto for 2011- Think/Can/Do. I have been doing a lot of similar musing as I plan ahead for this year.

  5. J.D. Meier says:

    > the mindset that practically anything is within the reach of a determined group never left me
    Now that is a beautiful thing!

  6. Diana says:

    Fred, I do hope you are right and the impossible is possible. I need what has seemed impossible for years to take place this year. It has been promised. And I need it with a passion. If only passion were enough. You also need the stars and moon to align (with the economy, lol).

    Fingers crossed.

    • Hi Diana, I certainly hope things align for you this year and your plans start to pan out. I certainly enjoy seeing the wonderfully creative eye you bring to your artwork. Best of luck in the new year!

  7. Fred,

    Happy New Year to you, too.

    Teaching entrepreneurship must be rewarding. I would imagine that you would get to hear a lot about the dreams and hopes of your students. Hopefully many of your students will act on their dreams and persist until they become reality. Many of what will be the biggest global companies in the year 2030 have probably not even been thought of yet.

    You are right on in what you say. We don’t know for sure which of the ‘impossible’ dreams and goals are actually possible, but until we challenge our limitations and give our ideas a fair-dinkum shot, we won’t ever know.

    Personally, I welcome the New Year with anticipation. Unfortunately, I was not able to accomplish what I had hoped in 2010 [Since coming home from Korea in 2009, I have been pursuing opportunities in professional writing (e.g. journalism, corporate writing, editing). I started a course in professional writing and editing last year, and I have done some volunteer work writing biographies and grant applications, but I am yet to find employment in the area and am currently unemployed.], so I will have had no problem in bidding the old year farewell. With God’s help, I am determined to make 2011 more fruitful.

    Things have already started on a more promising note. I have an interview tomorrow afternoon for a freelance writing/journalism role producing articles for a magazine/web site about architecture and interior design. This is exciting. I don’t know much at all about architecture (although I have been learning as much as I can in preparation for the interview), and if I get the role, it would be my first experience in paid, professional writing. So this is a big chance for me to expand my comfort zone and take on a new challenge.

    Of course, I don’t know for sure whether I will get the role, but I am well prepared, confident and ready to put my best foot forward.

    • Hi Andrew, It was energizing. In a small class I had a number of students who were already running their own businesses – from food truck operator to concert promoter – and were working to grow the opportunities they had started to build.

      Best of luck in the career shift. I received my undergraduate degree in journalism and the ability to write has always been useful in the jobs I’ve picked up over the years. Best of luck in the pursuit – I hope this interview works out for you.