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Are You Crazy Enough To Change the World?

December 29, 2011

As the managing partner of a brand development training organization for marketing firms and the founding partner of my own marketing communications firm, my blog posts are usually targeted to ad agency or marketing firm principals for obvious reasons. I’ve been in both businesses a long time and always feel like someone out there will benefit from my experiences.

Today, my inspiration comes from a different place. Like everyone else these days, I have been reading a lot about Steve Jobs. As one who works with brands, I have always been completely fascinated with him and how he not only created … but also sustained the Apple brand through the decades. It’s one of my favorite examples of a good brand on every level.

I’ve always been in awe of Jobs because I love to study those who have caused shifts in people’s thinking … and consequently in their behavior …on such a massive scale. I love big thinkers. I love people who dream so big that they usually elicit responses like: “You’re going to what?” … “Are you kidding me … what makes you think you can do that?” “Do you have any idea how hard that’s going to be?” … And so on. I do have to admit that I have heard those responses a few times myself. So I believe I am a big thinker … sometimes.

But thinking big is not all there is to it. You have to be courageous enough to actually follow through and do it. You have to engage others to believe what you believe and get them to be just as crazy. That’s how these big ideas come to life!

I also love to prove people wrong when they challenge me. While I’m not sure that was Jobs’ motivation, I am still completely enamored with his ability to ignore the naysayers. Can you imagine what he must have heard every time he called his team together and told them what he wanted them to do? Jobs says: “I’m thinking instead of adding buttons … the iPhone will only have one button.” In an interview to Business Week in 1998 he said, “That’s been one of my mantras — simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Surely they thought he was crazy.

Almost everyone I can think of who made a difference in the world had to be crazy. They conceived things that others could not even imagine: The Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King, John Lennon ….

I say if being crazy is associated with such creativity and brilliance, its worth taking that chance.

I urge you to “follow your crazy … I mean your heart” and stop being afraid to do the things that you know you can do. I urge you to find a ‘crazy’ and become an avid follower of that someone you respect and can identify with and be inspired by. Someone you want to emulate. And stop believing everyone but yourself.

For me … I have always been inspired by this Jack Kerouac quote. In fact, it is on the BTZBrand wall and is the first thing you see as you walk in the door:

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The trouble-makers.
The round heads in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.
But the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world,
are the ones who do.

Jack Kerouac – American Novelist, Poet and Artist

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that Steve Jobs, my inspiration, also loved this quote:

See for yourself.

– By Ro Breehi

About The Brand Establishment

The Brand Establishment perfected the first contemporary brand development process specifically for small to mid-sized advertisers more than two decades ago. These tools and procedures have been utilized by companies in virtually every business sector – hundreds of times.