Can you imagine what people said about Columbus when the word spread that he was going to sail to the New World? Some must have asked, “What New World?” Others, “Doesn’t he know the world is flat?” And the skeptics, no doubt, said, “Surely he is crazy!” But that was their mind set, not his. He had already decided that “if you worry about what other people think of you, you will have more confidence in their opinion than you have in your own; and poor is the man whose future depends on the opinions and permission of others.”
Imagine. Just imagine going against what the majority believes to be absolute truth! That’s exactly what Columbus did. While most of his countrymen were peeking through a keyhole, he was looking out a window. While others buried their heads in the sand, Columbus was seeing a rainbow. His mind was set. His heart committed. And he knew that he would find his new world.
There are plenty of new worlds yet to be discovered. Worlds that most do not believe exist. But they’re there, and they will be discovered by those who can see what others can’t and who are not afraid to go against popular opinion. As we seek to find the new worlds of our generation, it would serve us well to remember the words that are attributed to President Lincoln... “I do not worry about what people are saying because if I were to concern myself with what others said that label me dishonest or stupid, if I had my feelings destroyed every time people called me an ape or buffoon, I would never be about the work for which I was born!”
Criticism is sure to come to those who lead the way. It always has. It always will. I suppose that if one sought to do nothing or be nothing, he might avoid being criticized [although I doubt it]. But of this I am certain, those who dare to go where others will not are certain to face criticism. Some justified, but most not. Those who are wise will learn from the criticism that is just and use it to improve themselves. And if it is unjust, the wise one will simply sail to another port!