“I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”



This is about Geronimo and it’s not. Geronimo was a Chiricahua Apache who, after his family was murdered by Mexican troops, pretty much dedicated himself to revenge as a warrior. Ok. At the same time he dedicated himself as what we would call “anti-establishment” in today’s world. He just wanted to be left alone on lands he believed was his tribes, to live with people he loved, and live a life he loved. My point is it is difficult to talk about Geronimo and some fairly heinous actions without at the same time acknowledging the context, the environment, within which he did those things.

But let’s cut to the chase.

Geronimo was 79 (maybe) when he died of pneumonia after spending the last 23 years of his life as a prisoner of war. He spent years at war which, if examined, was actually spent mostly not fighting or engaging with his enemies, but rather seeking freedom from his enemies. I point that out to finally get to his last words “I should never have surrendered but fought until I was the last man alive.”

The world is not really a very welcoming place for ideas that don’t conform. And if you happen to be the owner of one of those ideas you have a variety of choices, but suffice it to say they inevitably reside in one of two places – conform or fight. Now. I’d be silly to not point out either is a viable choice. Despite the fact ‘conform’ has a variety of negative definitions the truth is, like Geronimo attempted when he surrendered, it can give you an opportunity to fight the system from within the system. Not an easy task but certainly offers a possible path to your objective. Conform does not necessarily mean submit. However, this is where it gets tricky. The system will often try and convert your surrender, ‘the conform decision’, to submission. And that is where things go awry. And that is how someone like Geronimo, on his death bed, can state “I should have fought.”

To be clear, there is no political message in what I am communicating today <it seems like everyone always wants to read something into everything> this is solely about ideas, mindsets and beliefs – and regrets I imagine.

Not everything (not many things in fact) that you believe or an idea you have is worth dying for. Yet. Many more of those same things can make you feel like it would have been better to die for them.

To be clear. I am speaking metaphorically here.

There are clearly some things when you surrender you end up surrendering a part of your soul at exactly the same time. Business is infamous for this exchange. You surrender an idea and sometime in the future you will find out you had surrendered more than you had bargained for. I point this out to defend some people who fight too long, and too hard, for their ideas and beliefs. While I sometimes think they are being absurdly stubborn I can also clearly see the possible costs of surrender and, well, I think I would fight until I was the last person standing too.

The choice is not clear cut.

Not every surrender costs you more than your idea. But costs lurk over the horizon so when you do surrender, and conform, you can never be exactly sure what all the costs will end up being.

Here is about the only wisdom I can share on this. Those who you surrender to typically have a history. Leopards don’t change their spots, animals always carry fleas and businesses are consistent. Assess well and choose wisely if you decide to surrender, or, be the last person alive over an idea or belief.

Written by Bruce