Tuesday, October 11, 2011

to the crazy ones

i'm sure most of you who follow this blog were among the many who mourned the passing of Steve Jobs last week. his death seemed to touch a chord that resonated with many people across a broad spectrum of humanity. it affected me the same way, and i'm finding myself moved to write up a post, even though his life had very little to do with the nature of this blog.

although, in a way, it does.

Jobs, and Apple, always held to an iconoclastic attitude. that spirit was exemplified by the slogans and themes adopted in Apple's marketing campaigns--all of which proved to be in touch with a larger audience that sought an aesthetic apart from the monotony so typical of the digital age.

including me.

the think different campaign is the one that stays with me. you might remember it. the flagship commercial was this one:
Apple Think Different campaign

yeah, i know, it's commercial claptrap. corporate gobbledygook. random post-modern nonsense cooked up by one of the giants of the advertising world, TBWA/Chiat/Day.

except that you realize it's a reflection of a persona. of one man. and an entire population of people who, literally and figuratively, bought into that message.

and i think i know why: it hit upon a truth that i think most people understand, even though they might never be aware of it.

you see, to think different, to be creative, to be unique, to be independent, to generate new and different and strange and interesting ideas, that act is not easy. not so much because of talent, because in a world composed of billions of people that have lived throughout all the ages of humanity there has been and continues to be no shortage of supremely talented individuals. but more so because of what it takes to apply that talent.

and that is to make the decision to exercise that talent. to think about new ideas. especially in a world that is not always receptive to them.

it's easy to forget--or never know--that the figures we so often laud for creativity were during their times so often for so long not respected nor recognized nor accepted nor admired. instead, they were by various degrees in various ways despised, feared, reviled, hated, alienated, ostracized, ridiculed, mocked, attacked, alienated, persecuted, suppressed, repressed, oppressed, and, in some cases, even beaten, tortured, and assassinated.

they weren't seen as creative; they were seen as crazy. all for deciding to assert their ideas.

it took courage.

which is where i think we find a common connection.

any of you who follow this blog, whether already an endurance athlete or contemplating becoming one, knows what that word means.

courage to pursue a sport that so much of the world does not understand. courage to face challenges so difficult to comprehend. courage to continue when so many do not even begin. courage to face yourself and what you are and to dream of making yourself something different.  and the courage to then act to realize that dream and be something different.

it's the same thing. because realizing a dream means the assertion of an idea. an idea that different means better. even as the world may think it means crazy.

it takes courage. and courage is not easy.

which is why we should respect it anytime we see it.

so here's to the crazy ones.

i think the best way to remember Steve Jobs is to remember the ideas that he thought it important. and i think that in the end, the ideas that he thought important summarize everything about the meaning of words like ideas, different, crazy, and courage. i'll leave them for some thought:
Steve Jobs graduation speech, Stanford University 2005

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