The reactions to the lost Titan submersible exploration is the "Man in The Arena" personified, and exposes the absence of a middle ground between genius and insanity.
For innovation, there exists a symbiotic relationship between extreme risk-taking and groundbreaking advancements. The pioneers who subject themselves to ridicule, dangers, and expenses in pursuit of their ideas often walk a tightrope between being celebrated as geniuses and being dismissed as madmen.
When failure occurs, the Monday morning quarterbacking is levied in heavy doses by everyone sitting in the stands, most likely while enjoying the fruits of someone else's risks and failures.
Monday morning quarterbacking has become an ingrained part of the sports culture. We love the risky quarterbacks who fearlessly throw deep bombs, take chances, and lead their teams to victory. However, our admiration often comes with a caveat: the risks must turn out favorably.
And on the other hand, we tend to despise the dink and dunk quarterbacks who opt for safer, short passes and refuse to take daring risks. The quarterback who plays it safe and avoids turnovers may be criticized for lacking ambition or the ability to make game-changing plays. This paradox reveals our preference for the high-risk, high-reward style of play, with no room for the "dink and dunk" quarterbacks who prioritize efficiency and ball control.
Innovation hinges on individuals' willingness to embrace failure, risk death, and take bold leaps of faith while fighting against a tidal wave of play it safers, naysayers, doubters, critics, and everyone else who chooses to live outside the arena.
It questions society's knee-jerk reactions to the failures and highlights the critical need to recognize the tremendous value that lies in pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Why risk your life attempting to climb Mt. Everest when you could sit comfortably on your couch for the rest of your life?
Victors are beloved, the journey is celebrated, yet failures face tidal waves of criticism.
We have a tendency to bestow the title of genius upon victors, often ignoring and disregarding the rollercoaster of failures and setbacks they experienced along the way. The adoration of bandwagoning fans and the eagerness to idolize and glorify successful innovators is undeniable. However, it is essential to acknowledge that these triumphs are built upon a foundation of repeated failures, unconventional beliefs, and an unwavering determination to keep trying.
The journey of innovation is paved with ridicule, dangers, and significant expenses. It demands individuals who are willing to face criticism, endure setbacks, and invest their time, resources, and sometimes even their lives. Just as scaling Mount Everest has claimed many lives, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in any field carries inherent risks. Yet, it is precisely these risk-takers who contribute to the advancements we enjoy today.
Challenging the Status Quo
The challenge we face as a society is to recognize that progress and innovation often arise from extreme beliefs, repeated failures, and the unwavering confidence to keep trying despite all odds. It is easy to play it safe, stay within our comfort zones, and risk nothing. However, we must realize that many of the things we respect and enjoy today are the result of someone's audacious vision, countless failures, and the determination to challenge the norm.
Consider the Wright Brothers, who risked their lives in pursuit of their dream to give us the gift of flight. Had they succumbed to fear and abandoned their endeavors after every setback, our world would be devoid of airplanes and the incredible advancements that followed. The Wright Brothers' unwavering determination, willingness to take extreme risks, risk death, and relentless pursuit of their vision are a testament to the transformative power of embracing audacity over complacency.
Society must learn to appreciate the value of those who subject themselves to ridicule, dangers, and expenses in their relentless pursuit of progress. By recognizing the importance of embracing audacity, we can foster an environment that encourages and supports the individuals who challenge the status quo, push boundaries, and become tougher individuals, especially in a day and age where we're already getting too soft.
Enjoy this often cited, but rarely practiced quote that brings it all home:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”