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Thinking Independently


“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel worn paths of accepted success.”

— John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company

Read that quote again. It’s the secret behind the biggest breakthroughs in innovation. Look at the history of technology, and innovation is there. Look at the history of government, and innovation is there. Look at the history of organized sports, and innovation is there.

Innovation is not achieved by imitating the success of others. It’s achieved by great leaders who choose to risk failure and ridicule in order to create something completely new. The comfort of what has been done is always tempting, and sometimes staying put and maintaining is a great challenge that we are called to. However, oftentimes the real challenge is in walking off the beaten path.

Your teenage son that won’t talk to you because he’s tired of your lectures and unsolicited advice…maybe he could use something off the beaten path. Your preschooler that is too scared to be left in a room without you…maybe she could use something off the beaten path. That co-worker that drives you absolutely batty…maybe she could use a response from you that was less than common.

You may say, “Give me some examples!”, but then you’d be missing the whole point. The question is your to answer.

What do you need to do differently to make something different happen?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.