Trailblazers & Bridge Burners

The entire world paused to honor Muhammad Ali, this weekend, after his passing. He was undoubtedly one of THE most single influential athlete ever, and quite possibly one of the most iconic figures, in 20th century history. He was a person of such high honor, and wide-spread appeal, that everyone had something kind to say about the G.O.A.T. However, journalist, Nick Wright, made a very interesting (and in my opinion, extremely accurate) observation. He said, “If there was a 25-yr old Muhammad Ali today, (people) would hate him.” 

As a boxer, Ali was loud, cocky, and though he was entertaining, was slightly obnoxious. As a man he was controversial. He took unpopular stands, on political and social issues, and had no problems being brassy about it. And even when life seemed to knock him down, he didn’t stay there. He was always able to get back up and continue floating like that butterfly. Because of THAT type of resilience, he became an icon to the generations that came behind him. He wasn’t so well-loved, and received, in his own.

He isn’t the only figure in history to have this quality. Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and King all coming to mind, just right off the top of my head. In their own generations, trailblazers are often viewed as boat rockers, and trouble makers; and it is usually in later generations, and sometimes even after their death, that their contributions are appreciated.

Trailblazers, for following generations, often end up burning the bridges to their own. Innovation in anything is usually met with strong resistance. Some people are just before their time. If you feel like the work you’re doing today is blazing a trail for someone tomorrow, be ready to be lonely and ridiculed. You may never get to see your days of honor, and it may not even come until after you’re gone. Don’t get discouraged. Someone is watching. Someone is taking note. Someone is depending on you, because you are their hero. So keep blazing. One day the world will pause to honor you.

© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

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