Take the risk!
We are a society that is stuck. Creativity is lacking. We are stuck politically — the same old battles of left and right, Democrat and Republican, struggles over power. The same old arguments over the same old issues. No creativity. No imagination. No fixes to the problems we face, only adjustments. Fixes would mean a change in the status quo. And if we actually fixed something, then it would mean we would not need our political leaders as much. There is little incentive from our political class for that. Where are the bold ideas — the things that required a paradigm shift? Things like “We’ll send a man to the moon by the end of the decade” or “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” These were things that we never thought would ever be possible, yet they were accomplished. They were risky.
We are a society that is stuck. Entertainment is lacking creativity. How many remakes can be made of something that already exists? How many continuations of existing stories can there be? Where are the new ideas? Where are the stories that aren’t based on something that already exists?
We are a society that is stuck. We are stuck in theology. Like politics, it is the same old arguments that have been going on for millennia — sex, purification, pietism, etc. It’s a focus on rules and what you are required to do and how you should act and how you should worship and how the faith can be used to prop up ideological fights and the state. Christianity is not the same as Christendom. It’s more radical than that. It’s riskier.
We are a society that is stuck. Sports is lacking in originality. As we keep moving towards more professionalized sports, the focus changes from the sport for sport sake, to a money making endeavor where the focus is to see how much money can be taken out of spectators wallets willingly.
We are a society that is stuck. Our education system is still doing things the same way they were done 100 years ago. Yes, the technology has changed, but our methods and reasons for doing things have not. We are still preparing students to be 1916 line workers who just follow directions rather than educate students on how to think. We’re more concerned with teaching students what to think and how to be safe, rather than how to think, create, innovate, and risk.
We are a society that is stuck. Our military serves one purpose — to prop up our nation which lacks any creativity or innovation at this time. Wars are distractions that give people something to cheer for and fight against. It is the belief that the only way to progress and peace is through war and destruction and death.
We are a society that is stuck. We lack leadership, but have plenty of reactivity and responsiveness. But you can’t lead if you are too busy responding and reacting. Leadership, true leadership, requires risk into the unknown. It requires new ideas. It sometimes requires ignoring what the crowd wants in order see what is actually needed and possible in order to create a bright future.
We are a society that is stuck. We have lulled ourselves into a stupor.
Where are the leaders, individuals who have ideas and creative approaches, not only to the problems we face, but have a vision for a bright future? Where are the leaders individuals who are willing to dream and risk and step outside the status quo? When you do, you risk insult, scorn and possibly violence. Is everyone satisfied with the status quo? I highly doubt it. If you aren’t, are you waiting for someone else to step up? You’ll be waiting a long time.
Where are the leaders individuals who can be a calming presence in the midst of the storm of chaos, the crowds that seek blood, to be a light in the midst of darkness?
We’re stuck because safety and certainty have become our overriding principles. When safety and certainty reign supreme, risk, innovation and progress can not continue. There is no tolerance for it.
Be that person, that individual that takes the risk. It might will be costly. But it will be worth it. At the end of your life, do you want to look back and say — “gee, I wish I had done…”? Or would you rather be able to say “I have no regrets.”
I’ll finish with something encouraging. I am reminded of an excerpt from famous speech by Teddy Roosevelt — the excerpt is titled: “The Man in the Arena”. I’m not going to change the words to update them so they are gender neutral, but I’m excepting you to be smart enough to understand that this applies to all people.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”