The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
I think I’ve always been an idealist. But the world tries desperately to beat idealism out of you at a young age.
To teach you to conform to the status quo.
To be a realist.
Don’t get your hopes up because you might be disappointed, they say.
The idealists, the dreamers, are laughed at or in the very least, not taken seriously. Idealism is equated with ignorance and blind optimism. Idealists are perceived by realists as the ones with their heads in the clouds, who view life through rose-colored glasses, live in a fairytale and chase butterflies, rainbows and unicorns. Ok that last bit may be a slight exaggeration, but the word “idealist” seems to have taken on a negative connotation. Idealism is something you are supposed to grow out of, like that awkward middle school stage. Or acne.
However, those that hold onto their idealism into adulthood are the ones who change the world because they refuse to live in a world where things are not as good as they should be.
Jesus was an idealist.
An idealist is “a person who represents things as they might or should be rather than as they are.” Now, lets be honest, most of us wouldn’t mind be likened to Jesus. So as a self-proclaimed idealist of course I’m going to attempt to find similarities between Jesus and myself. But honestly, when you look at his words and his life you can’t deny it: Jesus was an idealist. He was never content with the way things were. He was relentless in uprooting belief systems and doctrines that weren’t in line with the way the world was intended to exist. As he walked this earth in human form, his eyes saw the world around him not through rose-colored glasses but through the lens of his father’s original will and design. Where there was shame and condemnation he could see grace and acceptance. Where there was hatred he could see love. Where there was injustice he could see justice. Where there was bondage he could see freedom. Where there was violence he could see peace. Where there was sickness he could see health. Where there was death he could see life. Where there was impossibility he could see possibility.
If you ask me, following Jesus is our invitation to live as idealists. Because as much as the world around us can look grim, as much as it seems impossible for one life to make a difference, and as much as it seems that global change in any area is impossible, we serve the God of the impossible. Following Jesus’ example means moving towards an idealism that sees beyond what is in front of our physical eyes and into a beautiful world not yet existing. Not naively or impulsively, but having counted the cost of a life lived for Christ and putting our entire faith in him we take a calculated risk to believe he is who he says he is.
And if he is who he says he is, then we can sail boldly into uncharted territory trusting that he knows the waters. We can take the first step without knowing every subsequent step because we trust that he is marking the path before us. We can dare to dream a crazy big dream because he knows the deepest longings buried in the human heart and holds the keys to every locked door we may encounter. We can attempt to do what we are utterly unqualified for because the only qualifier needed is faith in who he is, not who we are.
So often we disqualify ourselves the minute God whispers a world-changing dream to our hearts. We instantly hear another voice accusing us of arrogance. How dare you think you could be capable of something that great? Who do you think you are?
You’re not good enough,
or equipped enough.
You’ve failed too many times before,
God’s grace has run out,
you’re too old,
you’ve already missed your moment.
The minute we listen to those lies we’ve disqualified ourselves. When our focus is on what we can do with what have on our own we will never measure up. When we choose to ignore those lies and instead look at who God is, he sees our hearts and says, “that is someone I can use.” He qualifies the unqualified.
Ignoring all of those internal accusations takes courage though. People may laugh at you. You may look foolish attempting to do something outrageous. People will scoff at your optimism. They may accuse you of being naïve, of having your head in the clouds, of being nothing more than a dreamer. An idealist.
Idealism is the path less travelled. Yet for as often as we’ve heard that speech throughout our lives, most of us, instead, take the path of least resistance. We do what everyone else has done before, living small lives that don’t have much of an impact on today much less eternity.
My hope is not that we feel hopeless or ashamed of the lives we’re currently living, but that we could come to a place where our fear of mediocrity and the status quo outweighs our fear of failure.
Jon Foreman put it this way,
“Far better to fail at building a magnificent world than succeed at monochromatic survival.”
Really, what have we got to lose?I would rather attempt to rid the world of the ugly and evil at the risk of failing than to get to the end of my life and know things might have been different if only I had had the courage to live audaciously .
We absolutely will encounter failures along the way. Every inventor knows that those failures aren’t as much of a setback as they are a stepping-stone on the path towards success. The realist in all of us screams “give up now before the disappointment settles in, don’t get your hopes up.” But the ultimate reality, the past, proves to us that idealists are the ones who truly change the world. Story after story of pivotal inventions throughout history illustrate this. Despite the naysayers and opposition, the rejections, the failures and the uphill battles people like the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, and yes, Steve Jobs have succeeded in changing the world because they were crazy enough to think they could. These examples and countless others have essentially recreated the world we live in and how we live in it. And they all have something in common. The ability to see things not as they are, but as they should be; perhaps even as they will be one day. The possibility of the world they saw in their mind becoming the world we all see was enough for them to continue on despite the risk of epic failure.
Now if these men can find the courage to swim against the current and dream boldly of a better world, how much more should we who humbly follow in the footsteps the boldest, most world changing idealist to ever walk the earth?
So get your head in the clouds, your feet off the ground and start dreaming bigger dreams.
In the words of idealist Steve Jobs:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
The question is, how crazy are you?