How many times has someone asked you if you are stupid? I’ve been called stupid (a lot by my sister), weird, and crazy all throughout my life. I think I’ve been called these things because people have misunderstood and misinterpreted me.
Dreamers and leaders have a few things in common. They both run the risk of being misunderstood and weird. This has been a struggle because I want people to love me! I’ve learned that if you want to make a difference there will be critics, there will be people who misunderstand you, and there will be people who think you are weird.
Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos said, “A big piece of the story we tell ourselves about who we are is that we are willing to invent, and, very importantly, we are willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”
I believe the people who make a difference are willing to be wrong. They are willing to take a risk. They are willing to fail. They may fear failure and fear being misunderstood, but they take action anyway. The difference in people like Jeff Bezos and the rest of the world is that they invent and challenge the norm. Everything they invent may not be a hit, but they are willing.
In Stephen Pressfield’s book Do the Work, he writes about “staying stupid.” He says, “a child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with your big brains and tiny hearts, who doubt and over-think and hesitate.”
I believe the people who make a difference are the ones with stupid ideas. They have the ideas that others thought were crazy that turn out to be successful. Unfortunately, Intelligent people are experts at crushing ideas and dreams. They love to use their intelligence to tell people why their dream won’t work or happen.
Your crazy idea or dream could be the very thing you need to do! What in your life is being held back because you are afraid to do something “stupid?” It could be that weird thing you’ve been thinking about for your whole life is the thing you were born to do. That stupid idea could be the thing that propels you to success. Should we get our brain out of the way and follow the stupid idea?
Pressfield says, “there’s an axiom among artists and entrepreneurs: to succeed, you have to be arrogant or ignorant or both. What that means is you have to blow off every response that says it’ll-never-work. Be arrogant. The nay-sayers are idiots. Or ignorant. Stay stupid and plunge ahead.”
Every criticism, every negative response, every dream killer you have to be willing to blow off. You can’t let the negativity win! You have to believe in your thing strong enough that the voices don’t win.
Seth Godin says “change is made by people, by leaders who are proud to be called heretics because their faith is never in question.” Are you willing to risk being a heretic for your idea or dream? Are you willing to be called stupid?
Next time someone calls you weird, crazy, or stupid…take it as a compliment!
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