Novel ideas are no more inherently good than bad, and recycled ideas are no more inherently bad than good. Effective solutions to any problems result not from new or old ideas, but rather from our depth of understanding. Too often we’re certain we have the best ideas, and somehow everyone else is confused, misguided, or just plain wrong. How often do we enter a situation with the goal of learning more about ourselves and others, instead of simply projecting ourselves in our present state upon others?
If I wish to become a better leader, I must seek first to better understand who I’m serving.
If I desire to improve as a teacher, I need to more fully comprehend the student.
If I hope to promote a more just world for all, I better listen to what people want and need.
If I aspire to be a better husband and father, I best check in with my wife and daughters.
Meaningful reform is a product of humility. We naturally resist an acceptance of the need for transformation. After all, it’s comfortable to just leave things alone – especially when it comes to ourselves. Except, of course, when it’s our idea. It’s exciting to bring an inspired thought to the debate, as it shakes things up and begs to be entertained. We’re injecting life into the stagnancy of the status quo. How often do we embrace the idea if it challenges ourselves, our way of thinking and being and doing, our certainty of self?
It’s safe inside. It’s neat, and orderly, and comfortable. It’s also stuffy. We need to stop thinking, however, that getting outside translates into simply spewing out ideas for others to embrace. Rather, we need to start recognizing, realizing, and embracing that out there is learning about you, and changing me. Safe? Not always. Real? You can count on it. Possible? Endless.