When John Adams decided to defend the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre in 1770, he disappointed many people. He disappointed family members of those who had lost their lives. He disappointed those who were against the British generally. He disappointed his own cousin Samuel Adams. And he did it all because of his dedication to the cause of justice. In pursuing any venture, the question is not “will I disappoint people?” — you will disappoint people — that is certain. The question is “Who will I disappoint?” Here are some possibilities:
– status quo. Some people are vested in the status quo, and do not want to see change. You will disappoint them. On the other hand, you see an opportunity to improve the world for many people.
– family, friends, colleagues (FFC). There are some who “know you as the person who ___.” If you are changing, do they still know you? Might you pass them by? You might disappoint them. On the other hand, during times of great change in my own life, my closest relations have urged me with delight to grow grow grow!
– the fearful. There are some who are afraid of change. What might happen to you if you do this? You might disappoint them. On the other hand, you might follow Martin Luther King Jr in asking, “If I don’t pursue this venture, I will not be able to offer my services or products to people who are in great need right now! What will happen to them?”
– the jealous. There are some who will make sly remarks and make you feel like you are ready to screw up and lose. And they are right — that might happen. But on the other hand, you might have a fantastic victory! You will disappoint the jealous.
– the apathetic. There are some who don’t care whether you proceed or not. Our fear is that they care very much, and we might disappoint them. You might disappoint your perceptions of these people — so called “straw people” — who don’t care one way or another. On the other hand, if you do something remarkable, you might find that these people DO care then, and are ecstatic for you.
– yourself. If you don’t run at least some experiments in your venture, you will disappoint yourself. There is no other hand for this one.
Are you ready to disappoint some, so that you have the opportunity to produce a glorious victory for others? Whom will you disappoint?