Orrin Woodward has recognized that in our society, “most people in life are looking for the easy road. They want comfort and will pay the price of mediocrity to get it; so they rush toward it like cows to the barn at feeding time” (LLR). However, Orrin has also recognized that without a legitimate opportunity to pursue excellence, most people just end up in the ditch of complacency not because they want to, but because they haven’t been given their chance. In LIFE, those who choose to stay out of the barn will now have a chance to develop the leadership abilities that God created in them by focusing on the 8 F’s of LIFE.
When I taught at an inner city charter school in the big city of Milwaukee, I remember leaving for work at 6:20am. It never failed that each and every morning I would be sitting in traffic. I even had to wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal just to plan for the lines of cars that would be standing still in the middle of the highway. Sometimes I would even try to leave a little earlier than normal trying to beat the traffic but I never could get around it. But then I would look to the other side of the highway and see just a few cars (at the same time of day) freely headed to their destination. I didn’t like where I was going, I didn’t like who I was following and I hadn’t a clue why I was going there. It always seemed as though I was on the wrong side of the road; following the masses straight to the barn.
Think about a time when you were stuck in traffic. How did you feel: maybe frustrated, annoyed, anxious and impatient? Where was everyone going? Do you like where you were headed? In Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady’s book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, they discuss that “the right lane is never crowded. There always seems to be a shortage of leaders, but a plethora of people heading the other way.” And sadly that was me for quite some time, choosing traffic and never seeking different routes. This is not only true of traffic, it is true of life.
When I think of this analogy it brings me to the example of Robert Kiyosaki’s book, The Cashflow Quadrant. He talks about how 95% of people will follow everything they are taught and told to do, they will listen to the status quo, even if the status quo is flawed. And those 95% of people will work their life away trying to be successful and get ahead but instead will fall complacent and apathetic never mustering the courage to do anything different. But then there is the 5% of people who will choose not to follow the status quo; who are willing to take risks in order to pursue excellence. And those 5% of people learn new information from those who are where they want to be and gain 95% of the results in life. Brady says that “Leaders (or 5% er’s) shun comfort and seek excellence.”
One major principle I have learned from Orrin is this: I choose my destination and I am the one to blame if I don’t like where I am headed. We are only given mere moments on this earth to make our life great. If we expect a life of excellence, then we certainly can’t expect it to be comfortable and we definitely can’t keep following the masses. By continuing to choose traffic each and every day, I was setting myself up for mediocrity.
I encourage you, take risks, seek new opportunities and don’t settle for a life of traffic. It may be uncomfortable and it will require courage but I can assure you that the road to success will be much less busy and indeed more fulfilling. This is one of my favorite quotes by Orrin Woodward: “The bad news is time flies; the good news is you’re the pilot.” The LIFE business is your chance to get on the right side of the road and become a leader this world so desperately needs. To be an example for others to follow and to help others leave the status quo by joining you on the road to excellence. Read this passage from Launching a Leadership Revolution:
“Becoming a leader should not frighten anyone – it should inspire. Leadership is one of the most rewarding endeavors known to mankind. It is also one of the most important. Our society is suffering from a leadership crisis. As Edmund Burke noted a century ago, ‘the only way for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.’ There are too many people sitting idle, while the world cries out for leadership.” Orrin Woodward
Will you join us and answer the call by taking leadership education mainstream and by driving on the right side of the road?