Being an Unreasonable Leader

unreasonableAll of us want to feel normal, well-adjusted, and a part of the mainstream. We also want to be great and perform extraordinary tasks. These two desires are in opposition to one another. Jules Verne said, “All progress comes from an unreasonable person.”

We are educated and trained with the expectation that we will succeed. Unfortunately, success comes from thinking unconventionally while acting in new and unexpected ways. At an early age, we are educated in a process that tells us to perform within the lines, do what you’re told, and don’t stand out or ask questions.

When we are trained for a new job or position, we are expected to succeed, but we are shown the way it’s always been done and trained to do it that way. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve always gotten.

One of the fundamental laws of life is: We reap that which we sow. It is impossible to sow average seeds and receive an extraordinary harvest.

Jules Verne knew that a person who has succeeded and is admired today for that success was, at some point, perceived to be unreasonable, outrageous, and unrealistic. Unreasonable people succeed because they take a new path and chart a new course. They may fail many times en route to success, but they are undaunted by the scorn and jeers of others.

Being reasonable is simply a matter of viewing the world the way it is today. Being unreasonable is nothing more than viewing the world as it could be tomorrow. Every great achiever throughout history, at some point, heard the whispers and laughter of “normal” people. These outrageous future successes simply ignored that mainstream ridicule and moved ahead. If you’re going to break new ground, you’re going to have to get off the beaten path.

My company, the Narrative Television Network, is in its 22nd year of making movies and television accessible for millions of blind and visually impaired people around the world. If you came to our offices and studios, you would see an Emmy Award, an International Film and Video Award, and signed photos and letters from movie stars and the entertainment industry elite. We have been featured in most of the country’s major media outlets and have been recognized by the last three presidents of the United States.

While I appreciate these commendations and accolades, there was a time as we were launching our business that we were literally the laughing stock of the industry. Imagine how unreasonable it was to assume you could produce television and movies for blind people. That which was unreasonable has now become mainstream.

As you go through your day today, seek to be unreasonable as you pursue that which could be, and make it a reality.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082, or by e-mail at

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