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Here's to the visionaries

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution - Albert Einstein

When Alexander Fleming first published his discovery of penicillin, no one noticed. When Xerox executives first got a look at the Alto — the machine that would become the model for the Macintosh seven years later — they didn’t see what the big deal was. When Jim Allison first showed pharmaceutical leaders his idea for cancer immunotherapy, not one would invest in it.

We often assume that the next big thing will be obvious, but in truth, it often starts out looking like nothing at all.

Looking at history, when some idea, conception, innovation, truly has the power to change the world, the world isn’t ready for it. It needs to build advocacy, gain traction among a particular industry or field, and combine with other innovations before it can make an impact.

But no one ever tells you that. We think informing change, innovation and habits is an easy task.

We are all conditioned to think that someone like Elon Musk stands up on stage, puts a billboard up, announces that the world has changed, and everybody just goes along. It never really happens that way because innovation and evolution is never a single event.

Change is hard. Changing people is harder. World belongs to those who share and co-create with others.

Speaking from experience, I know change is hard. Let's consider the last time you worked on changing a simple habit for your self. If you recall the effort it took for you to put your phone down at a social gathering, sleep a bit earlier, eat a bigger salad or hit the 10k steps on your fitbit. Or how about complaining a little less and smiling a little more when things aren't going our way?

Considering how much effort and conscious effort it takes for us to change even the most simplest of our own habits, imagine how hard it is to change others?

It takes months and sometimes years of small wins and bigger disappointments, a process of self awareness, a sense of empathy, with lots of patience and perseverance to drive changes that become movements that matter and last.

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas,” said the computing pioneer Howard Aiken. “If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” Never were truer words spoken.

Great innovators aren’t just people with ideas. They’re people willing to stick it out and take the shots from people who ridicule them. Eventually, if they’re lucky, they really do change the world.

Here's to the visionaries, keep up the good fight!