In Ryan Holiday’s Courage is Calling, he writes, “It’d be wonderful if we cherished our heroes, if we rolled out the red carpet for our creative geniuses. Instead, we put them through the gauntlet. We torture them. We drive them away. Churchill was not only a prisoner of war in his youth, but at the height of his political career he was driven out of public life. His crime? In part, he was right about Germany. No one wanted another war. No one wanted him to be correct about Hitler’s menace. So it was easier to make him go away than to prove him wrong. For nearly ten years Churchill languished at his estate outside London. Or so his enemies thought. In fact, he was reading. He was writing. He was resting. He was making valuable contacts. He was waiting for his moment. ‘Every prophet has to come from civilization,’ Churchill would explain, ‘but every prophet has to go into the wilderness. He must have a strong impression of a complex society… and he must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made.’
Psychic dynamite is what Steve Jobs had. What Eleanor Roosevelt had. What Serpico and Florence Nightingale developed. They would not have had these things had their path been easier. How long are you willing to be misunderstood? How long can you stand alone? Are you willing to be the only one in your company to go on the record? The only one in your party to voice the criticism? What are you willing to put up with to be true to what you believe? To do what you need to do?”
Holiday goes on to write, “Few leaders are ever perfectly in sync with their times — they’re usually ahead of them. Which is going to mean looking around and finding that they stand alone. Which is going to mean early moments of small crowds and few supporters. What they can’t do is moderate their beliefs for fear of being cast out of society. For the hope of fitting in… You can’t let this period make you bitter. You have to make sure it makes you better. Because people are counting on you.”
People are counting on you. Will you have the courage to say what you believe? Stand up for the voices that need to be heard?
As Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
Will you hold out to see your own strength? You have all you need. Your time is coming.