As entrepreneurs, we celebrate our ability to withstand adversity, but as individuals, most of us would rather do without. In business, it’s those who overcome the greatest odds who are hailed asiconoclasts – they’re often the ones who challenge our beliefs, help tear down walls that keep us stuck, and perhaps more importantly, invite us to stand on their shoulders and advance their ideas. Martin Luther King Jr. did it; Steve Jobs did it and Mahatma Gandhi did it – each defied insurmountable odds, but in the process, made us believers.
Outside the world of business and politics, however, it’s rare that we take notice of such courageous feats. “Once upon a time there was a man who had destroyed his life by age thirty-two,” is how three-time convicted felon, Weldon Long describes his adulthood. By that time, he had spent thirteen years in prison, had no money, no family and no life – until one day he discovered the words of Emerson; ‘to map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage’. Not only did he internalize those few words, but they became the anchors behind a truly remarkable redemption. His story starts with his commitment to rationalize The Upside of Fear; here’s his formula.