Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry Logo

The Obstacle of Progress (Part 3)

For the last few months we’ve been examining the notion of what I call “the obstacle of progress.” We really haven’t focused on drywall. That is to say, I have not given you some hot tip on the latest drywall screw or wall assembly. I’m not even trying to. Nor have I encouraged you in these desperate times to hang in there and cling to the past relying on the turnaround to get you back to where you’ve been in better days. No, and don’t expect me to do so this month either. Candidates for the topic at hand aren’t all that interested in more of the same. They aren’t satisfied with what’s being done; they are far more fascinated with what can be done.

For our purposes, just “doing drywall” as it is being done by even the best of contractors, simply isn’t the subject. Rather, I am summoning those with a heart to pioneer. Game changers, who are past just thinking outside the box, who don’t even want the box, or to merely get out of it. Such individuals see well past the present and leave it behind in order to pursue the future. They are innovators who are sick and tired of anything outdated or even current. They embrace a new model fashioned from their own creativity and opportunity, captivated completely by new approaches that, quite possibly, they are the first to see. Visionaries!

These visionaries are undeterred by the change that will be required to achieve such goals, in spite of the unintended consequences one inevitably encounters embarking on one such journey. They relentlessly pursue new ideas, even riddled with failure, just as long as it leads to eventual success. To these frontiersmen it is well worth the effort and any unforeseen difficulties. They are far too fixated on what they believe possible and able to ignore naysayers who will most certainly discourage their quest.

Adopting this path and absorbing the unintended consequences along the way, they endeavor in a relentless pursuit of their specific vision of the future. They have learned to some extent that in doing so they will find that such progress will create and literally become its own obstacle. Yes, progress itself interferes with business as usual, and at times every visionary pioneer will inescapably face the frustration of failure and have to persist in order to overcome, succeed and fully realize their vision.

As we continue to explore, remember that business is business and innovation is innovation. Don’t make the mistake that this simply doesn’t apply to you and your organization. These facts are universal no matter what the business is. We’ll be back to drywall soon enough (maybe not soon enough for some), but we’ll be back. I promise to provide an example of one such drywall contractor who simply could not help being the type of individual I describe. So, don’t stop reading now, do yourself a favor and consider the following:

The Trailblazers

Orville and Wilbur Wright were told to stop wasting their time as they insisted on becoming pioneers of the sky. Lucky for us, they didn’t listen and today we board a 777 and fly nonstop to Paris in a matter of hours.

Benjamin Franklin ignored naysayers who insisted he stop his “foolish experimenting,” and he flew a kite. Today, we have electricity, which powers my desktop computer, and in that sense his vision contributes to this article—not to mention absolutely revolutionizing the world, which was then dependent on candlelight and lanterns.

Scoffers insisted that Columbus’s plan could not be accomplished, calling it “quite impossible.” Thankfully, he persisted, insisting on permission and support, since I’m currently writing for the nation that resulted from this fool-hearted individual, who was once considered a square peg in a round hole!

These types of individuals are not only misunderstood by the masses. Other “crazy ones,” as Steve Jobs put it, misunderstand them as well. Innovators have even been guilty of scoffing at other innovators. Thomas Edison called Henry Ford’s vision of the motor car a “worthless idea.” As Mazda would put it nowadays, “Zoom-zoom!”

I don’t have time at the moment to research the quote but I will paraphrase a question I am told that the mother of Bill Gates once posed when confronted with the idea of personal computers. It went something like this: What would anyone want with a home computer? A better question might be, how did we ever get by without them?

Throughout time, great ideas have been met with a long line of naysayers. It’s a good thing these dreamers haven’t listened. Imagine today’s world if they had replied to the naysayers, “I guess you’re right!

Creating Your Own Predicament

That brings us back to the “unintended consequences” I’ve repeatedly alluded to and again, what in the world does this have to do with drywall? Why all the emphasis on such individuals who have been troublemakers, scoffed at, ridiculed and plagued with repeated failure on the pathway to success? Why bother to take such risk and endure this painful path?

I agree wholeheartedly. These are fair questions to the “reasonable” businessman. It does seem a bit “unreasonable” to create your own predicament, doesn’t it? Yes it does, unless you believe in the benefit enough to motivate you to set out on one such journey. But then again, that is “the obstacle of progress” isn’t it? Let me clarify that further—next month.

Doug Bellamy is president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. He is known for his original thought, innovative approach and the personal development of unique processes, systems and procedures. He is available for consultation, business management seminars and training. Visit him on LinkedIn or contact him at

Browse Similar Articles

You May Also Like

Three Life Altering Phone Calls … I will finish this portion of my writings in the here and now and on this very page, and I will leave you with

Let me be as clear as new glass, polished to a sparkle. Rob turned out to be an incredible friend. We were extremely close by his untimely and unfortunate demise. At