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johnny walked two types of lines. one for june and one to inspire the rest of us. thank you johnny.

As children, we believe anything is possible. Our vision is clear; our hearts are pure. Our creativity knows no bounds. Our primary concern is to experience and share love with our family and friends. We are not limited by the need for fitting in. We are not governed (or limited) by a desire to collect money or achievements.

It’s a pure and beautiful instance in our lives.

As the years pass, society teaches us that this lifestyle is irresponsible, reserved for toddlers and misfits. The creativity that once drove us to creating whimsical works of art and cardboard castles worthy of King Arthur quickly becomes a liability in the work place.

We’re taught to play it safe. The educational systems teach us to color inside the lines, obey, follow the rules and strive for a steady position in the status quo. We are must conform and strive for pragmatism.

Life’s focus turns from relationships and wild dreams to the pursuit of riches and a lifelong mission to fill your CV with achievements and awards.

We are taught to be cautious and never to be naïve. Don’t be an idealist. Don’t take risks. Comfort and convenience should quickly replace whimsy and the drive for a better quality of life.

This is a reality that we all have experience with. It’s part of the fabric of the western, developed world. Some of us consistently fit it; others spend their lives defying it.

I do believe there is a fine line between bravery and naivety, however. Fair enough. Walking that line is viewed as reckless and irresponsible. Why take the risk of failing? What will people think if you’re wrong?

Conversely, one could argue that the line between naivety and bravery is where the extraordinary is most often unearthed. It’s where innovation happens. We must dare to fail in order to discover new ways of thinking and doing. Would being wrong or momentarily naïve really be that bad?

The biggest innovators, the boldest thinkers and the changemakers walk this line every minute of the day. The path to the extraordinary isn’t safe. It’s not going to help you fit in. People will call you naïve, irresponsible and reckless.

I suggest you embrace that. Own it. Gain power from it. Use that adrenaline to change the world. Put love and relationship above all else, even when society berates you for it. Don’t settle for comfort. Comfort is boring.

Imagine what life would be like if we all bucked the systems bound by safety and the status quo. Imagine the innovation and possibility. Imagine the art.

Johnny Cash, Einstein and Gandhi walked that line and we loved them for it. Come to think of it, any time someone walks this line and succeeds, we praise them for it. But if they walk the line and fail, we say, “I told you so”.

The question then becomes, “Am I willing to risk my social status in order to experience a truly extraordinary life?” Of course the more important question would be “Am I willing to forgo an extraordinary in order to play it safe and fit in?”

3 Comments

  1. kerry on April 10, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    so beautifully said.

  2. Jason Ansley on April 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    This is essentially why my wife and I desire to educate our child in a non-traditional way. Think of it as a cross between home schooling and experiential project based learning. We want to be able to travel and have our child grow up in a culturally diverse world.
    Traditional education stifles creativity.
    JAson

    • Jared Angaza on April 10, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      I agree completely, Jason. I pulled our Rwandan son out of school in Rwanda, and decided not to put him in school here in Kenya after realizing that we could teach him more at home (and in our businesses) in a year than he’d learn in 4 years of school here. And he has plenty of social activities already, so that’s not an issue. He’s traveling, learning about life, gaining experience in business, learning about relationships, and so on. Basically, he’s doing (right now) all the things that the rest of his would-be classmates will be doing 4 years from now. Figured we’d put him on the fast track to experiencing the extraordinary.

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