Are You Willing to Look Foolish?

clownWhy is it we’re so image-conscious and afraid of what other people think?

The truth is, before you’re really good at anything, you’re going to be really bad, and therefore you’re going to look bad.  Or, in other words, you’re going to look foolish.  And therein I think is the problem of a lot of really smart people.

You can be smart, gifted, and talented.  You can have native skills, ability beyond your peers.  But if you are unwilling to look foolish, you’ll never, ever reach your full potential.

We all look foolish when we attempt anything for the first time.  You looked foolish when you first tried to walk, by falling down.  You sounded foolish when you were first trying to talk and making baby sounds.  But somehow before we became an adult and so image conscious, we thought looking foolish was ok, particularly if it was leading us to a place of great advantage.

Maybe God has put in your heart to write a song or a book, to start a business or a movement; a church, a club, something.  If you get out of your comfort zone and do something that you’ve always dreamed of doing but have never done because you’re afraid of what other people will think, you’ll look foolish.  You’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing.  And the truth of the matter is, no one knows what they are doing until they do it, until they do it over and over again and they fail and get back up and attempt to do it again.

The question is not, “Will you ever look foolish?”  Of course you will.  All of us will.  It’s unavoidable.  The question is, “What are you willing to look foolish over?”  Looking foolish because you’ve done something really stupid, or you’re involved in something really frivolous and it doesn’t matter or faddish and is passing away, is beneath you and a waste of your one and only life.

If there is something you want to do, need to do – ah, MUST do – then dare to look foolish and embrace it. Remember the opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity. And that requires that you jump in without having all the skills to succeed.  To learn to swim, you must start to swim.  You must go through the struggle until you get to the fluid motion of an accomplished swimmer.  You have to sometimes risk drowning in order to swim to the goal.

38 thoughts on “Are You Willing to Look Foolish?”

  1. Thanks Dave, I needed to hear this. I’ve been paralyzed for years by fear and I think fear of looking foolish, of looking back and being embarrassed and thinking, “I should have known better,” is a big part of it. This has really helped me to see it differently.

    In so many ways I feel this post was written for me. You were God’s messenger for me today. Thanks.

    The following quotes are going to find a home over my desk.

    “You’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing. And the truth of the matter is, no one knows what they are doing until they do it, until they do it over and over again”

    “To learn to swim, you must start to swim.”

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