Welcome back, dear readers,
I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!
Today I thought I’d share one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned. When I was in college, I was lucky enough to have an incredible mentor. This man was my journalism instructor, but he also taught me so much about life.
There were many useful things I learned from him, but one of the best came during a first-year journalism class. Donald was discussing the Iran-Iraq conflict that happened in the 1980. For a journalist at the time, the hottest interview imaginable was with the Ayatollah Khomeini, but–incredibly–almost no one tried to get an interview with the Iranian leader! Why?
“Everyone presumed the Ayatollah would refuse to talk to a Western reporter,” Donald said
Along came a rookie. This guy was wet behind the ears, so he had no idea that you couldn’t try for anything you wanted. He had no clue that his overtures would be refused. So this new reporter, with almost no experience, actually attempted to get an interview with the Ayatollah. And you know what? He did.
The moral of the story, as Donald so eloquently put it, is:
Never assume the Ayatollah won’t talk to you.
This one sentence has become a guiding force in my life. Whenever I’m faced with a daunting task, or a goal that seems insurmountable, I can actually hear Donald’s voice in my head: Never assume the Ayatollah won’t talk to you. So I don’t assume, and it turns out that nothing has ever been impossible. And if I do miss out on the interview of the century, or don’t win the contest, or don’t land a great agent, at least I’ll always know that I tried my best.
I will never fail simply because I was afraid to try.
That was the greatest lesson learned during my years in college and beyond. I thank the great Donald Benham for teaching it to me.
Have you ever used the Ayatollah principle in your own life? How did it go?