Never underestimate the power of the “social wave.” Catching the right wave at the right time can make an ordinary man seem like an absolute genius. We often look back at extraordinary men and try to understand what it was about them or what it was about their work that yielded such a dramatic impact. However, in many cases, it was not the man or his work that served as the primary catalyst; it was the wave. Cleary, it took all three, but we would not even have known these people if it was not for the wave they caught.
Darwin is an example. When he proposed evolution, the world’s intellectual culture was searching for a cosmic explanation that was not dependent upon an involved “creator god.” Charles Darwin said himself that his ideas took off like wild fire — that he was surprised. The same can be said of Martin Luther. His 95 Theses came at precisely the right time in the sociopolitical culture of Europe. Examples could be multiplied, but I am fascinated with a more intriguing observation:
Have we considered the difference between those men who were brilliant, but did not catch the wave (Galileo), those men who were brilliant and did catch the wave (Einstein) and those rare, very rare, leaders who deliberately initiated “the wave”?