The Middle

A friend of mine used to tell me, ‘There is muddle in the middle.’ He was right. It’s a kind of no-man’s land. You’re neither here nor there. The middle is a safety net, a place where you stay under cover and protect yourself or the status quo. The middle is average. It doesn’t move the needle much at all.

Leaders do not live in the middle. Leaders are bold and willing to take a stand. Innovators do not live in the middle.  Innovators live on the edges of new possibilities. Scientists do not live in the middle.  Scientists are always searching to know what doesn’t work.

The middle is full of people who choose to be exactly where they are. It’s a place where they are most comfortable. That’s okay. What is not okay is for people to use the safety of the middle as a place to criticize rather than create, to pontificate rather than push, to damage rather than define. These people will not advance our cause.  We have no time for such people just as we didn’t have time for them when America was being shaped at the turn of the century.  Hear Teddy Roosevelt’s words from 1910 as if they were said today.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Thomas Butta

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