The smartest people are not always right

How many times have people burst your balloon? You have a great idea (in your mind), but when you share it with others you’re given all the reasons why it won’t work. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” We are wise to seek the advice of people especially if we are considering something new. At the same time we cannot assume that the advice we will receive will always be right. Some of the wisest people have been wrong.

  • 640,000 bytes of memory ought to be enough for anybody. – Bill Gates (1981)
  • The phonograph…is not of any commercial value. – Thomas Edison (1880)
  • I think there is a world market for about five computers. – Thomas Watson (1943)
  • We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out. – Decca Records, rejecting the Beatles (1962)
  • Who wants to hear actors talk? – Harry Warner, Warner Brothers Pictures (1927)
  • You’re too young to get married. It won’t last. – My parents (1966) (Wife and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary this year)

Sometimes you have to ignore the experts, but to do so is to risk being wrong yourself. How can you know for certain your dream, your idea, is valid? I have really appreciated John Maxwell’s book Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It to help address this question. In the book he gives 10 questions that you need to answer to see if your dream is realistic for you.. One of my favorites is the passion question. Do you feel compelled to follow the dream?

We know that anything new we attempt will be difficult and challenging. It will likely cost us more than we anticipated and will demand more of us than we thought possible. Without passion we are more likely to give up before seeing the dream come to pass. If we do so, all the time, energy, and finances we put into the dream will be lost. The greater danger is that we will be afraid to dream again.

The passion question is only one Maxwell addresses in the book. As we filter our dreams through each of these questions we will have a much better idea of whether it will be successful or not. We need to always be dreaming, but at the same time let’s not be afraid to put our dreams to the test. Talk about them with wise people you trust, but also check them out through the filters Maxwell provides. You’ll have a much more likely chance of enjoying success if you do.


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