Are you a pioneer or a settler?
When I think of the word pioneer the image that immediately springs to mind is that of a group of hardy souls dragging themselves and their families across the plains of America or South Africa, facing unknown futures, wild animals and savage indigenous tribes. I remember watching the cowboy films of the 1960s and 70s that portrayed a hard and often desperate struggle to survive, while in pursuit of a dream in a far off land.
I grow up hearing tales of the hardy men and women who, with few possessions and a steely resolve, trekked into the interior of what is now South Africa and made a home for themselves and their families. In many of these cases, this is where the problems begin. These pioneers became settlers. They became comfortable with where they were. They lost the desire to move on and discover new lands and new places.
However, the truth is that these are not the only type of pioneers.
Every industry and every century has pioneers of one sort or another. Medical pioneers, like Dr Christiaan Barnard, who in 1967 performed the first successful human heart transplant and Louis Pasteur who was one of the most important microbiologist and is remember for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of diseases. Florence Nightingale, who came to be regarded as the mother of nursing for her pioneering work in tending to solders during the Crimea War.
Henry Ford, pioneered the assembly line technique of mass production and Karl Benz who is generally accepted as the inventor of the gasoline powered automobile. And there are of course the Wright Brothers, who built and flew the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier than air craft and Louis Bleriot, who after developing the first practical automobile headlight, built and flew the first aircraft to cross the English Channel. When Sam Walton opened his first Walmart after leaving the Army, simply improved on an already successful system, while discovering better ways of doing business.
You know (caution, side tracking!) just when you believe you are totally oblivious to online ads you get a banner which somehow captures your interest. I just noticed a good banner for a capable tradeshow display supplier. They deserve the reference 🙂 All right, i'm sorry ladies and gentlemen, getting back to what we were talking about.
When mountaineer Sir Edmond Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquered Everest in 1952 and American swimmer Mark Spitz collected 7 gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, they led the way for others to follow and redefined what is possible.
There have always been and will always be pioneers. Those individuals who are willing to accept the dangers, the risks, the potential ridicule and possible failure, in order to forge forward to the goal they have in mind.
However, you do not need to be a medical, engineering, business or adventure pioneer to be a pioneer. Many of todays pioneers are ordinary men and women who have captured that pioneering spirit and refuse to be held down. They forge ahead with new ideas and new ways of doing business. They refuse to believe that the mountain can't be climbed, that the ocean can't flown over.
Clients often say to me, We can't change that. It has always been done that way.
They have become settlers. They have lost the desire, the fight or the courage to progress and make the changes necessary. We live in a very fast paced world, whether we like or not. Business today is done on the move and at the speed of thought. Mobile phones, the internet and social media have changed the way we communicate and the pace at which we do business. Those who do not ride with the wave, however uncomfortable or against the grain it may be, will ultimately be left behind.
When the Wright Brothers first flew the heavier than air craft in 1903, they could not have known that in less than 20 years later, the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight would take place or that within 60 years commercial trans-Atlantic flight would be as regular as the rising and setting of the sun. The aviators that followed Wright refused to believe that the Wright Flyer was as good as it gets. Aviation continues to be developed and refined. No settlers here, thanks.
Have you, in your business, practice or job, become a settler? Have you accepted the way it has always been done? Have you settled for average?
You are not condemned to that position. You can re-ignite and fan to flame that spirit of a pioneer within you and transform your business, practice or job. Dont be a settler, when you can be a pioneer.
I'm going to say that I got the idea for this article chatting to Jennifer over at AppraiseMuskoka. Many thanks for that. I guess you discover ideas in unexpected ways.
Posted in Photograph Post Date 11/08/2015