It will become a persistent challenge throughout life, to ensure you do not become a willing participant in your own enslavement. Anth Chapman
The Diffusion of Innovation theory defines 5 types of people and how they respond to ideas and change. Understanding each of these and acknowledging which one best describes us, can help us understand why we each engage with life the way that we do.
Innovators make up 2.5%. Always thinking, always questioning, always exploring new ideas. By nature the tend to be prophetic and contrary.
Early Adopters make up the next 7.5% and quickly get excited about the ideas and questions of the innovators, wanting to engage in the unfolding and application.
The Early Majority make up about 34% of any group and are people who think, to a degree, preferring to have thoughts and ideas presented and explained in a way that instructs rather than coming to conclusions themselves.
The Late Majority, that make up about 34% of any group, also think, but mostly from a basis of resistance, because of a dislike of change and unfamiliarity - they have a tendency to think irrationally and simplistically and would prefer being told what to do and what the consequences are.
The final 16% are known as Laggards and whilst not lacking sincerity, can lack the understanding and willingness to embrace new ideas.
At the extremes of this theory are two groups: Those who need to be heard and those who need to be herded.
One thing that can be an obstacle to the flow of the process of change and progress is fear.
"Once you get people into fear, they'll always look for someone outside themselves to protect them from what it is they fear."
As the clip from Disney's Dinosaur shows, fear distorts perception, magnifies threat and heightens anxiety. We arrive in this world as helpless and vulnerable beings, completely dependant on others, but if, as we grow, a fearful approach to life is not deconstructed, its walls of security place blinders on our experience and boundaries on our potential and fear becomes our chief advisor.
Unless our perspective changes, our perception will remain the same, making it clear that where we're looking from is more important than what we're looking at.
Fear had kept the Croods safe - "Never not be afraid!" was their motto, but the daughter, Eep, had questions. At Q we would say "Always never stop asking questions!"
The difficulty when talking about fear is the challenge of knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.
Fear has become a necesary tool for survival but it must not become a Chief Advisor or it will become a brutal dictator. It masquerades as a friend, seducing us to believe that we'd better follow its guidance or woe betide.
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship."
There's a story about Jesus and his disciples crossing a lake. When a storm breaks out, the disciples panic whilst Jesus sleeps through the storm. What made the difference? What was Jesus conscious of that meant he could rest when others were distressed? The disciples accused Jesus of a lack of care, when the reality was a lack of fear and the presence of peace.
Can we mistrust our fear, poke holes in its pretence and develop the conviction that our experience of it is not absolute and fixed after all?
Grug, the Dad of The Croods, loves to tell stories, but they all end the same way "And DIED!" When Guy joins the family, they discover that stories can have a different ending...
The stories from the life of Jesus are revolutionary because of how they ended. Instead of "And DIED!", when Jesus was involved, whether it was his friend Lazarus walking out of the tomb, creating food for the starving or his own story, they all ended "And LIVED!"
Guy told a different kind of story that inspired the Croods to take risks, look over the edge and dare to fly.
The book of 2 Kings tells the story of some outcast lepers who took a risk to go to an enemy army camp, saying "If we stay here we'll definitely die, if we go there, maybe we'll live!" Sometimes we need to take a risk on a maybe! To their surprise and delight, the lepers discovered that the enemy camp had been abandoned and so they helped themselves to all that had been left and took the good news back to their city.
Part of the wisdom we require in dealing with fear, is knowing when the danger is gone, and not continuing to live in fear to something that is no longer a threat.
So, what's the antidote to our fears?
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18
Love, accepted, embraced and lived out is the opposite to fear.
It's time to change our perspective, which will change our perception, which will change our outcome.
Psalm 91 offers a similar hope to that found in Guy's story in The Croods. As you read it, consider what it is that you're looking to, to shelter you from your fears and what it might mean for you to step up to the cliff edge of your fears and ... fly.
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
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