Insanity or Discovery: Success is Up to Us

We cannot get anywhere in life by staying where we are. In order for us to succeed at anything, even the small things in life, we have to understand that we must change, adapt and grow in order to discover our true potential. We must choose to change and grow because the alternative is the sameness of today.

The alternative is insanity; doing the same things over and over yet expecting different results. In order for you and me to get to where we want to go, we may have to leave where we are behind.

Insanity or Discovery: Success Is Up to Us

I met a man the other day who worked in the IT department of a company that employed scientists to build a satellite designed to see farther into space than has ever been seen before. This company is doing work that’s never been done. They’re hoping to discover something that’s never before been discovered. These scientists are designing and creating this special telescope from scratch because they’re hoping to break exciting new ground in astronomy.

The team has a choice, to either do what has been done many times before, or to try (and possibly fail at) something new. These scientists have the opportunity to change the world and what we know of the universe. Their choice is either insanity or incredible discovery.

You can’t get to second base with your foot still on first. You can’t graduate from college without leaving high school. You can’t meet the person of your dreams without leaving the house. You can stay where you are in life, that’s fine; but you can’t choose to stay and still complain about the conditions. As I wrote in this article, we cannot wait for someone to give us “the tap” on the shoulder and say “it’s your time.” We have to choose to act today.

In his most recent book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell asks, “Will you continue doing what you have always done, or will you make the leap and try new things? Doing new things leads to innovation and new discoveries.” What are we likely to discover by trying new things? I’m not sure. But I do know what the alternative is; the alternative is not doing new things. The alternative is insanity.

Susan Cain’s book Quiet paints this picture:

Mark Twin once told a story about a man who scoured the planet looking for the greatest general who ever lived. When the man was informed that the person he sought had already died and gone to heaven, he made a trip to the Pearly Gates to look for him. Saint Peter pointed at a regular-looking Joe.

‘That isn’t the greatest of all generals,’ protested the man. ‘I knew that person when he lived on earth, and he was only a cobbler.’

‘I know that,’ said Saint Peter, ‘but if he had been a general, he would have been the greatest of them all.’

What if you or I could be the greatest at something but we never decided to try and discover what that something could be? Every time we look in the mirror, we should ask ourselves, “What could I be the best at?”

“What if?” That question should always be on your mind. I’m constantly wondering “what if…” Sometimes I can predict the answer but more often than not, I’m surprised by the results.

What if I went the extra mile?

What if I stayed home and did nothing?

I believe that success really is up to us! We just have to make a choice. Will we choose insanity? Or will we choose the possibility of incredible, life-changing, and exciting discovery?

Question: What is your “What if…” question? Share your experience with me in the comments section below by clicking here!


  • Dan Erickson

    Good post! I’m doing my what if… writing books. My next what is… What if my books started selling thousands of copies?

    • Ellory Wells

      Thank you Dan! I think your “what if…” about books is a great one! With Amazon and the internet, selling 1000s of book is definitely within grasp.

      What if they did sell a thousand copies? What would you do then?

      • Dan Erickson

        I’d keep writing. One goal is to someday sell a thousand or more a month. As a self-published author, that would be the point I could jump ship from my teaching job if a chose.