Someone once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
While this is certainly true, I’d like to offer a different definition.
Alternatively, the definition of insanity is doing things other people think they can’t do, won’t do, or won’t even try. Buried deep within the chemical composition of every leader lies an obscure combination of molecules that, when combined with the right set of circumstances, form an interesting kind of free radical others might call “insanity.” It’s this hormone that courses through the veins of all leaders, prompting them to take the first step forward when others are content to maintain the status quo.
But insanity doesn’t just apply to business. It applies to our personal lives as well. We’ve become a society that watches people surf monster waves instead of learning to surf. We watch shows like Shark Tank and dream about becoming an entrepreneur instead of believing in ourselves and taking an “insane” risk. We tune in to the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, watching others try to find love while we long for the same things ourselves. This list goes on and on.
“Reality TV” is a huge for of entertainment in the US, but who’s reality is it? Ours? Most likely not.
Yet, if any of us tried to actually do any of these things, we’d most likely be met with a puzzling question: “Are you insane?”
Most people who know me know that I live life by biting off more than I can chew and somehow figuring out how to make it work. I recently completed my first Tough Mudder in April of this year. I just signed up to do another one in October. And after finishing P90X, I ordered the next craziest workout program I could find: Insanity. I’m no spring chicken and these programs are tough. When I first started P90X, I was so sore I felt like I’d been attacked by a pack of wild dogs – seriously. But so what? Maybe one day I’ll act my age and stop doing insane things. But not today. Insane? I hope so.
If we are labeled “insane” because of the risks we take, the things we do that others think is crazy, or because we try something where failure is a real possibility, then so be it. This might be oversimplified, but leadership is about leading, not following. Doing things others can’t, won’t, or a too afraid to try is in the DNA of every leader.
This week, do something “insane.” Take a chance. Be a leader. Try something you’ve always wanted to try. Instead of watching a cooking show, go learn to cook. You might fail, but at least you are in the game. You’ll likely find that your willingness to take a risk is contagious and even inspiring. I hope we are all just a tad bit “insane.”
Now, go crush it.