The Power of Fools


“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
(Steve Jobs)1

Throughout the course of mankind, individuals who dared to imagine something bigger and beyond were thought to be foolish. Many great achievements were considered impossible at one point in history. When big dreamers talked about their grand ideas, they were labeled fools… until they became famous!

The Power of Fools

There was a time when only fools believed that:

• The world is round, not flat
• American rebels could defeat the mighty British Empire in the American Revolution
• Humans would fly and walk on the moon

The Power of Sport

Athletic competition ignites a spirit of imagining bigger, faster, and better. The history of sport is full of feats once thought impossible, belonging only in the realm of foolish dreamers.

For decades, doctors and scholars believed man was incapable of running a mile under 4 minutes. Once Roger Bannister broke the barrier, many others soon followed. When people strive to exceed previous achievements, impossible dreams are realized.

There was a time when only fools believed that:

The Power of Technology

Science has yielded a steady stream of innovations and technologies that were unimaginable before their time… except to their foolish inventors.

There was a time when only fools believed that:

  • Something called the telegraph could instantaneously transmit messages over long distances
  • We could shop from stores all over the world, and have products delivered to our doorstep, all the while sitting comfortably at home
  • You could take your phone with you when you left the house or office… or that you could fit 1,000 songs in your pocket

The Power of Spirit

The human spirit can empower us to transcend our own perceived limitations. The story of Arthur Boorman demonstrates the power of spirit beautifully.

As a 47-year-old disabled Veteran, his doctors said he would never walk unassisted again. Arthur had given up on himself until someone took a chance and believed in him. At the time, only a fool would have believed Arthur could lose 140 pounds in 10 months, prove his doctors wrong, and transform his life.

I’m a Fool

Being foolish and following my heart has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

As a youth, I had the dream of becoming a professional football player. Coming from the squeaky voice of a 5 foot 2 inches tall, 100-pound freshman boy, many considered me foolish. Yet, that 10-year pursuit had a powerful impact on the man I am today.

As a business executive, I took a contrary position based on principle knowing it would cost me my job. I was labeled an iconoclast for going against the status quo. My foolish stand led to a successful and happy career as an entrepreneur.

As a 47-year-old, freshly divorced empty nester, I fell in love and married a beautiful woman with two young children (ages two and four). As a result of that foolish decision, I am a now a proud father of four wonderful children, married to the love of my life, and constantly cultivating healthy, happy days as the founder of Happy Living.

I believe foolishness — coupled with resolute commitment — is assisted by powers greater than our own:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless, splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would come his way.

I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

(W.H. Murray)2

Are You a Fool?

Are you nurturing a grand idea? Do you dream of a better version of yourself? Never underestimate what you can accomplish. Just because something seems impossible today does not mean mean you cannot make it happen tomorrow.

Innovation, creativity, and greatness comes from seeing what everyone else sees (the status quo) but thinking a different thought.

When we think and believe differently, others may call us foolish. Let them.

Let them… and follow your heart.
Let them… and pursue your grand idea anyway.
Let them… and “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Let them call you foolish – and know your boldness has genius and magic in it.

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  1. Stanford Report: Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech
  2. The Goethe Society of North America: “Until one is committed …”