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Disruption Isn’t A Bad Word

It's actually the best way to change the world

I need to let you in on a little secret. You have everything within you right now to change your world and the world. Yes, you. You just have to be willing to become a disruptor.

I was a 19 year old freshman in college when I ran for Mayor of my hometown in Texas (population 70,000). I distinctly remember walking into City Hall and asking the woman at the front desk what I needed to do to sign up to run. She gave me a once over and politely asked, “Maybe you could start with city council?” I declined her offer and placed third out of five candidates in the mayoral election just a few months later. I may not have won that election, but I did pick up an important lesson: just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. 

What I learned from that election experience was the power of disruption. What I discovered was the good that can come when we stomp on the status quo and rattle the cages of reality.

Many of us have long considered disruption a bad thing. And of course we have! Because that is exactly how it was always presented to us by most of our school teachers, Sunday school leaders, and even sometimes our parents. “Don’t be a disruption!” they would say. Which is fine–until something needs to be disrupted. Or until something is so wrong that it needs to be made right. Or until something becomes so broken it needs to be made whole again. 

The truth is that are there all kinds of things in the world around us that are broken. Things that make us angry. Things that make us sad. Things that make us uncomfortable. Lots of people talk about these things. Disruptors actually do something about them. 

“Disruptors are uncomfortable with a current truth–so they show up, take action, and persist until a new and better truth is born.”

I’ve spent the last several years finding as many stories of disruption as I can. What I learned along the way was that disruptors are not unique in age, race, socio-economic status, or education. Where disruptors are unique is in their willingness to show up, take action, and persist. Disruptors have the courage to act on what they feel in their hearts; to live out their convictions to birth new truths that leave the world better than how they found it.

My last 15+ years have been filled with all types of activities that many people would consider out of reach. Breaking multiple Guinness World Records, running dozens of marathons, helping rescue more than 100 kids out of slavery, writing books, raising millions of dollars for charity, starting viral internet campaigns, teaching college courses, and on and on. I did all of this in spite of the fact that I am not unusually gifted, I was not born into a family of millionaires, and I did not have some unique advantage. I was just willing to disrupt. Good news: this means that you (yes, you!) can choose to do the same.

Here is the truth as plainly as I can put it: if you want to change the world, you will.

And you will do it by disrupting those truths that make you uncomfortable. Because disruption isn’t a bad word. It’s actually the best way to change the world. So go and disrupt for good! 

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