Why Every Innovator Has Arrows In Their Back…

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Football player Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem of his NFL games during the 2016 season. 

When asked why he was kneeling, Kaep citied systemic oppression and the unjustified killings of Black & Brown people in America. 

Many people disagreed with Kaep, attacking his character, criticizing his playing skills and celebrating the fact that Kaep still hasn’t returned to the NFL since that 2016 season. 

On the flip side, many people supported Kaepernick. They cited that Kaepernick’s kneeling as a peaceful protest, within his rights as a citizen. Kaep’s supporters attacked the NFL for not supporting their player and not trying to learn the reasoning behind the demonstration. There was even a movement to boycott the watching of NFL games until Kaepernick was back signed to an NFL team. 

A few players in the NFL and other sports kneeled during the anthem the same year Kaepernick did it as a show of support. The practice pretty much went away in the years since, until the summer of 2020. 

Some high-profile incidents between law enforcement and people of color reignited the Social Justice conversation. NBA players took a knee during their national anthems. Baseball and soccer players got involved. Even Congress got in on the kneeling practice. 

The common refrain around the kneeling in the sports world: Kaep was RIGHT!! 

He had the right idea from the beginning, they said. He saw this before anyone else did. Kaep should be honored for starting this movement that we are just now seeing, four years later. 

I’m writing this not to make a case for or against Colin Kaepernick. I’m writing this to point something out. Of the thousands who’ve now done it, the only person who suffered from the practice of kneeling during the national anthem was the guy who started it, Colin Kaepernick. 

Here’s the reason why: this is what happens to pioneers. 

You don’t have to agree with Kaep to recognize that he’s a pioneer. He started the kneeling thing, whether you like it or not. He made it a thing. Everyone else who did it was following him. Yet no one lost their career like he did. 

Pioneers — those who go first — disrupt the status quo. Disrupting the status quo is a dangerous game, and Kaep paid for it with his career. Now his followers are applauded for their courage in doing the same thing Kaep himself got destroyed for. 

When you disagree with the status quo and set out to shake things up, the status quo will fight back. And it will do whatever it takes to quiet you down. 

To know whether or not you’re looking at a pioneer, look at their backs: pioneers will have arrows sticking out, the battle scars of going first. 

The disagreeable element that cost Kaep his career is the same energy that pushed Steve Jobs to make Apple what it is, and Jeff Bezos to drive Amazon to its current position. Both have taken arrows in their backs too, and paved the way for everyone else in the process. 

Without the disagreement brought on by the Kapernicks, Jobs, and Bezos of the world, nothing moves forward. But at the same time, becoming one of them carries a cost. 

You have a choice. 

I explain this in full context on episode #1698: Why Being Disagreeable Is The Key To Your Success. Listen here: http://DreAllDay.com/1698