The accepted state is to be a cog, keep your head down and follow the rules. The preferred career is to follow the well-worn path, to read the instructions, to do what we are told. It is safer that way. Less responsibility. More people to blame.
If I try something different and fail, people will blame me but if we all do the same thing and fail, it is easier to avoid individual blame in a crowd. It is safe to fail by the numbers because that way it is not our fault, it is the system’s fault.
When someone comes along and says, “not me, I’m going down a different path,” we flinch. We are not organised to encourage and celebrate the unproven striver, the innovator. It is safer to tear them down (with their best interests at heart, of course). Better, we think, to let them down easy, to encourage them to take a safer path, to be realistic, to hear it from us rather than the marketplace.
Perhaps, years ago, this was good advice. Today, it’s clearly not. In fact, it’s disrespectful, ill-advised and short sighted. How dare we cheer when a bold change-maker stumbles?
Our obligation today is not to spare the feelings of our peers from future disappointment. It is to establish an expectation that of course they are going to do something that matters.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
If you think there is a chance you can make a dent, GO.
You have my permission. Not that you needed it.