Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is reputed to have said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to thinks that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

A friend posted this quote to her Facebook page following his untimely death earlier this week, and it blew me away the first time I saw it.

It still gives me goose-bumps every time I re-read it. Partly because I wish I would have said it, but mostly because I believe it. Whole-heartedly.

And as I ponder these words in the context of this week’s World Dairy Expo, it give me great joy to realize that that spirit is alive and well in the dairy industry.

Somewhere along the way, virtually every entrepreneur that started the businesses that fill Expo grounds heard “no” or “that can’t be done” or “why do you want to do that” countless times as they risked and fought to bring their dream to reality. And they know they will undoubtedly hear those words again and again as they shepherd their businesses forward.

However, to me, dairy farmers personify the tenacity Jobs expressed so eloquently. For you are the ones that many people think are crazy for daring to do what you do, for doing what you believe in and who see things differently than the rest of the population. I am awed by your drive and passion. You inspire me daily, and I thank you for daring to march to your own drummer.

But I think these words resonate especially strongly as I see the next-generation of dairy professionals make their way through Expo. Because the naysayers can be terribly harsh when it comes to young people with dairy dreams.

Don’t let anyone dissuade you from your goals. It’s chafing to be the square peg in the round hole, to be different, to be considered “crazy” for your dreams. But don’t give up. Figure out how to get around “no”. Challenge conventional wisdom. It’s the only way you can change your world.

My great grandfather was alleged to have said something to the effect that “If people don’t think you’re crazy for doing things differently than everybody else does them, you’re not doing it right.”

We could all use a little crazy like that these days.