The Truth about Icarus


I was asked some really good interview questions last week. One of them was, “What’s the best advice you’ve received?” In fact I feel so strongly about this piece of advice, that I’d like to share it. 

I’m sure you’re familiar with Icarus. 

It’s his fault we’re encouraged to stay in line. It’s his fault it’s been drummed into our heads not to fly too high. 

Yes, he did fly too close to the sun, and so his waxen wings melted and the hungry waves put an end to his adventures. 

But it’s not his fault that we haven’t been told the other part of his father’s warning. 

Because, when Daedalus handed him the wings he had fashioned in a daring attempt to escape the labyrinth they were imprisoned in, he said something else as well: “But most importantly, do not fly too low, as the mist of the sea would dampen your wings and you would be sure to perish.” 

Don’t you think it curious that no one ever warns you against flying to low? Of playing it safe? Of not taking risks? When in fact, as Seth Godin points out in “The Icarus Deception”, not taking risks can be more dangerous than taking them. 

“We’ve been brought up with myths and stories that would keep us small, of Gods and Kings that 
were punished for their disobedience and daring, for taking risks…to discourage us from even thinking we could “walk as the Gods walk.” 

And stories are incredibly powerful. They stay with you forever. They influence you. They can cheer you on or keep you down. 

So, in conclusion, I urge you all, “Don’t fly too low.”

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