Your Dent in the Universe

I am currently reading the story about Steve Jobs of Apple. Interesting enough, much of the book is about what a first class jerk Jobs could be. At the same time even his critics would say he had a way of distorting reality to convince others to join him in what at the time could be seen as nothing more than a fantasy.

His leadership gift was inspiring people with big, challenging, impossible to achieve visions. For example, during the creation of the Mac, he stood firm on a couple of big dreams. First, Jobs would appeal to people by saying he wanted to make a “dent in the universe.” That is about as arrogant and ambitious as one can be, but he was sincere in his desire (and Apple’s calling) to do that. His other comment was how he wanted the Mac to be an “insanely great machine,” not just something run of the mill, with a few new features.

In spite of his lousy behavior, people knew he passionately believed Apple products could, maybe should make a dent. (FYI, in 1976, Apple was valued at $5300; in 1980, $1.75 billion! It appears many were being inspired by this dream.)

I know people with big visions and I believe they are frightening to many others. These visionaries see possibilities in a newly defined world. Their critics tend to judge the feasibility of the breakthrough thinking in terms of today’s reality, so they easily dismiss them. Perhaps you have heard the story that at one time top people at Mercedes said the worldwide demand for autos would be relatively small due to a lack of qualified chauffeurs. I have never been able to confirm the facts on that, but true or legend, it makes the point about the limitations around change which many put on the future.

It takes enormous courage to put forth really big, inconceivable visions. Do you passionately care enough about anything to summon up the courage to dream really big, or to pursue making your dent in the universe. I hope many of you leaders will accept that challenge and be even more daring in your thinking. The world certainly needs some innovative solutions to our host of current problems. And I also hope the rest of you will not try to keep those courageous visionaries boxed into the world as it exists today. People will never be able to fly if you keep clipping their wings.

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