Be careful what you argue for

There’s a game we play. We state our problem. We might even complain about it. Someone helpfully offers a suggestion. We explain why that won’t work. They give us a different idea. We counter with the things that make it impossible here. And it goes on, back and forth, as we knock down every single suggestion that comes up.

I’ve played this game. It even feels kind of fun, like I was explaining our uniqueness, or defending our identity.

But do we really want our identity to be the problems? Is our uniqueness that we are absolutely beyond help?

I heard it put this way: Argue for your limitations, and they are yours.
(Source: Richard Bach)

When you put yourself in the role of champion for the thing that is holding you back, you’re holding yourself back. 

It’s a hard habit to turn around. You have to catch yourself sliding into that role of Champion for the Limitations. And then you have to open up your thinking.

The old goal was knock down every idea that comes up.

The new goal is find a germ of useful truth in each idea. What might you take away from this suggestion? Is there part of it you could use?

You’ll start saying things like, “I’m not sure that would work in quite that form, but we might be able to adapt this part.” Or “While ‘they’ would never go for that, a couple of us could start small with one part of it.”

Stop defending the limitations. Start championing the possibilities.

Keep making your small town better,

PS –  My friend Deb Brown (You remember the Tour of Empty Buildings? That was Deb.) has started her own newsletter list. It is full of business links, ideas, small town stuff, and fun. You can sign up here

And a bonus video: See how San Marcos, Texas, (pop 55k) made their downtown better for just one day, and then reaped more involvement in policy and projects as a result: