Here's to the Crazy Ones

18 August 2014
18 Aug 2014
West Lafayette, IN
5 mins

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the 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.”

- Apple, quoting Rob Siltanen

Perhaps the most well-known and inspiring marketing campaigns from Apple, the quote “Here’s to the crazy ones…” tells us – in insists – that we think differently. It advises that in thinking differently and thinking innovatively we can change the world, and in believing in those notions we will push forward the world in which we live. That’s all pretty easy to take away, but I’d like to share a personal take on the most famous lines from the times of Steve Jobs.

The idea of leading a social change or a public action is unsettling to everyone. If you’ve ever lived in any sort of an organized society (which I assume you have, because you’re using the internet), you probably have something you want to change. Maybe you think the city’s work on road construction is too disruptive, or you might want people to be more involved in music, theater, or other creative events in the town. Maybe you have a rule you disagree with in your school or at your job, or you just really, really want there to be a NaNoWriMo marathon weekend but there isn’t. Possibly, you may have slightly more ambitious visions of changing the world in the largest scales, making large impacts to the environment or resolving conflicts. Whether you’re goal is to establish a small community event* or to begin a global cultural revolution**, you’re making ideas real, and that’s both hugely exciting and massively daunting. In most cases though, the concept of making a social change is appealing because it’s a contribution to something greater than the self, that which will hopefully transcend and outlast the creator of the change. And as a human being, such ideas are usually very attractive.

But it is unfortunately not as often that we see those ideas and thoughts transferred into action. Partly because the step of transitioning from a concept to an executable plan is difficult and partly because the concept of leading an action and voicing an opinion in the public stage seems elusive or frightening. It may seem easy to tweet out a complaint or suggest an idea for a community event on Facebook. However, transferring those words and opinions in the real world through action into the eyes of the public, where criticism and mistakes are bound to occur at each decision, is significantly more difficult and straining, both physically and mentally. That in no way excludes the majority of us from pushing the envelope to make changes happen in whatever way we desire; it just makes it appear as if the task of making changes is somehow exclusive to the ones who think differently. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers.

Honestly, there’s no barrier to overcome, no test to pass, no experience to gain, in order to lead a change. I believe the ones who think differently, the innovators, the change makers, the influencers and the leaders, aren’t people who have the ability to look at the world in a different light – they live in the same world we do, and they look at the same things we do; rather, they are the ones who make the choice consciously to dare to challenge the world’s notion whenever and wherever they can. When many others settled with the smartphone technology of 2005***, Jobs refused to negotiate with the world. Anyone could imagine a faster, more futuristic device, but Jobs chose to challenge the notion that modern technology could only deliver so much. While the major auto manufacturers of the world saw full electric drive as a niche market, Elon Musk chose to believe that it could be better. You can look at any aspect of your life and the lives around you and find a way to improve it. And if you do, don’t just think about it or talk about it: choose to take an action on your idea. Choose to believe that your idea brings value to the world. Because the people who are crazy enough, innovative enough, and daring enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

So I’d like to ask you for a favor this time. I’d like to insist that you make a conscious choice to believe in your ideas and the power you have to bring them to life. Got an idea? Trust it. Visualize it. Tell everyone that you’ll act on it and succeed. Wager on it. Invest in it your time and money. If you truly choose to believe in your work, that it’s possible, that it’s valuable, and that it’s important, you can’t give up. Someone who passionately trusts that his work is important and valuable to the world cannot be stopped by people or by mistakes. Dare yourself to make a difference, and challenge yourself to consciously believe that you can change the world. Choose to be the change that you want to see in the world, and do so with passion. Regardless of what ideas you invest in, a world in which all of us have the powers to make a mark on our society is a world that I’d be thrilled to live in, and that’s a notion in which I believe above everything else.

* That’d be me.

** That’s me as well. We’ll see how that one goes.

*** I know, I know, the iPhone launched in 2007. But Apple began the work on the project two years prior.

Living in the future

How to make your ideas real

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