In the pursuit of groundbreaking business innovations, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, offers a timeless lesson: Be prepared to be misunderstood. If you do the same thing everybody else is doing, you can be sure that you will get the same results as everybody else. The moment you begin to do things differently, your actions are more likely to be misunderstood. Amazon’s long-term approach is rooted in customer-centric thinking, consistently working backward from the customer’s needs. Yet, this willingness to think differently and commit to a long-term vision often results in being misunderstood, a challenge inherent in transformative ventures.
Critics are unavoidable in the world of invention and disruption. Well-meaning critics may genuinely misunderstand the innovative path you take, while others are blinded by their own self-interest. Accepting misunderstanding means you’ve accepted the fact that you will be misunderstood. This isn’t to say you won’t need feedback. According to Ecclesiastes 7:5, “It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.” You will need to seek wise and godly counsel regarding your work. These are people that are able to scrutinize your work with a superior perspective from which you create.
You ignore the chorus of the masses, staying focused on your vision. Massive success demands the courage to be misunderstood and a strong commitment to your visionary goals. It’s about listening, testing, and unwaveringly building toward your transformative vision. Jeff Bezos reminds us that enduring the misunderstandings that come with pioneering, such as Amazon’s Kindle and AWS, is the path to real innovation and wealth. Working on your long-term goals usually means taking decisions that won’t make sense in the short-term. Peter didn’t understand why Jesus had to die on the cross. Suffer in the short-term, but win in the long-term. This is the cornerstone of groundbreaking business success.