Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Arrogance

This is a fear and a paradox of doing work that's important.

This from marketing expert Seth Godin who will be speaking at 2010 Catalyst in October.

"A fear because so many of us are raised to avoid appearing arrogant. Being called arrogant is a terrible slur, it means that you're not only a failure, but a poser as well.

It's a paradox, though, because the confidence and attitude that goes with bringing a new idea into the world ("hey, listen to this,") is a hair's breadth away, or at least sometimes it feels that way, from being arrogant.

And so we keep our head down. Better, they say, to be invisible and non-contributing than risk being arrogant.

That feels like a selfish, cowardly cop out to me. Better, I think, to make a difference and run the risk of failing sometimes, of being made fun of, and yes, appearing arrogant. It's far better than the alternative."

I struggle with this tension. I feel that in many settings, God has granted and gifted me with the ability to see, discern and paint the big picture. Sometimes this comes across as controlling, wreckless, naive, anarchish, (fill in your own blanks). But, there has to be a way to challenge the status quo of vision (or visionlessness) while possessing the heart of Jesus.

How do we balance innovative, new thinking, dreaming and idea-making with the humility Jesus expects? (Philippians 2:5-11). Similarly, how do we lead in such a way that the people follow Jesus rather than follow us?

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