Friday, February 20, 2015
Daring to Take Risks
The first time anything new and creative is proposed, it gets labeled. And the label put on these novel things is likely to be "risky." Can't you just hear it?
"Let me get this straight, Orville. You and Wilbur are building a machine that will do what? Heavier-than-air flying machines are the riskiest hoax anybody ever palmed off on two gullible boys like you Wrights. Get a real job!"
Or maybe it was somebody's harebrained idea of talking pictures, black and white children attending the same school, or people walking on the moon. More than one person was berated simply for giving voice to such "silly" ideas.
It turns out that some of the people who dared to propose such outlandish possibilities are now regarded as geniuses - revolutionaries - heroes. And it was only because they dared to question others and to question themselves. They challenged the limitations others were willing to take for granted.
There is something in your profession or business, your family or church that could be done better. A situation could be more productive. A relationship could be healthier. An objective could be clarified. Some lofty ideal to which all in the group give lip service could actually be implemented. But I warn you up front: Like restoring a car or house, it will take twice as long as you thought, cost far more than you anticipated, and strain every important relationship in your life!
Only you can decide if it will be worth it to undertake something so ambitious and costly. There will be false starts. There will be embarrassing mistakes along the way. But the potential outcome could be as important to your personal situation as the achievements of the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong were to their time and place.
The problem with our world is not that there are no more frontiers to challenge and conquer. It's that there are too few explorers. There are too few people willing to ask the obvious questions and challenge the traditional wisdom. In a word, too few of us want to take the risks that could make us look stupid.
If you are fortunate enough to have a dream in your heart, be willing to make mistakes in pursuit of it. Be a risk-taker. You just might change the world.
Rubel Shelly is a Preacher and Professor of Religion and Philosophy located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to church and academic responsibilities, he has worked actively with such community projects as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, From Nashville With Love, Metro (Nashville) Public Schools, Faith Family Medical Clinic, and Operation Andrew Ministries. To learn more about Rubel please go to: www.RubelShelly.com