And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.
On one hand, Machiavelli espoused an ammoral approach to obtaining power and counseled the ambitious Prince to be prepared to commit heinous acts to rise in position that many of us would seek to distance ourselves from. (More nuance on that here)
On the other hand, we should not be afraid to learn what we can from a man who so intently studied influence and human nature.
The takeaway here: Innovating is hard and it’s because change may need to loss. Humans have a strong loss aversion and something new holds the chance for harm, either real or perceived, then we will do our best to resist and block it.
There have been always those who were willing to take risks to climb mountains, cross oceans and build new ventures. Explorers, entrepreneurs, and innovators are an uncommon but necessary part of our society. But never forget that making change happen will almost always be a steep uphill battle.