“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 people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.
These words date back to the 1997 in an advertisement which was created for Apple Computer Inc under the title “Think Different”. The advertisement still carries fundamental truths and challenges all of us to think differently. We cannot doubt the fact that even after his death; Steve Jobs will always be part of the lives of people. Great people do not die, they live beyond the grave. The secret behind Job’s success, he was prepared to go against the grain, and experiment with his fantasies. A company which started in a home garage has grown to be a worldwide phenomenon which has changed the look of personal computing in the world today.
You cannot think like everyone else and expect to be different. Do not be bound by the common way of thinking. Step out of the common and do the uncommon. If you think in a common way you will reap a common harvest, if you think in an uncommon way you will reap an uncommon harvest. Great people look at the same situation like everyone else and see opportunities.
I will share with you some interesting thoughts that were uttered some years ago. I do not know if the authors of these statements were still alive today, whether they would still associate themselves with their utterances;
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Commissioner US Patent Office, 1899.
“The telephone has too many shortcomings to be a means of communication” — Executive from the World’s leading Telegraphic Company 1876.
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” — IBM Chairman 1943
“Guitar Music is on the way out” — Record Executive who rejected the Beatles 1962.
The people who uttered these sentiments were thoroughly confident about what they were saying. Little however did they know that they were thoroughly wrong as well. The world is witness to how guilty their conclusions were. Do not be guided by generational thinking that is not progressive in nature, think outside the norm. Refuse to accept the status quo; challenge your thoughts to provoke solutions to problems. Remember, the quality of problems you solve determines the quality of reward you receive. We have always been told to think outside of the box, but sometimes what we need to do is to think as if there is no box.
Challenge the tradition
Greatness makes no room for people with respect for tradition. People who have made history are the people who were prepared to face the challenges and the criticism in order to do the unforgettable. There are people who will always hold non-progressive views and will always look for opportunities to crush innovation.
People who are accustomed to the normal will never have a date with the abnormal. At one point in time it was termed abnormal to transmit voices without wires, it was abnormal to fly and soar like eagles.
There are people who even invested their resources just to demonstrate that there is nothing that can be invented. There are several things that may have become normal in your business, and you may have embraced it as a reality. What you embrace becomes a part of you. What has been said about you? Do you believe it?
The story of George Dantzig
You may not know of this gentleman, but I will unpack his story for you. George had a well documented record of late coming for class every day during his college days. Consistent with his behaviour he walked into class and saw some two mathematical problems which were written on the chalkboard.
Without talking to anybody, he simply copied the problems and went back to his room where he started working on them. He finished the first mathematical problem, and moved on to the next one. He discovered that the second problem was not his usual mathematical problem and realised that he just need a bit more time to work on it. Within three days, he managed to finish the second problem, and he submitted his assignment.
To compound the matters he was also late with his assignment. After submitting his assignment, he got a call from his Professor who seemed a bit shaken. George was apprehensive, as he thought he may have performed dismally in the assignments and the Professor was calling to caution him. The Professor told George, “DO you know what you just did?
The second question that you answered was not an assignment. This is an equation which has vexed mathematicians ever since the time of Albert Einstein.” History was made, a problem which had been in existence for years, was solved in three days. Interesting!
What was the secret behind George Dantzig’s success? Ignorance of the history of the problem was his secret. Everyone who was in class when the Professor was delivering the lecture about the famous mathematical problem never attempted to write it.
In fact those who wrote it down simply did so because they wanted to share the story, and not find a solution.
George who was not in class was not conditioned on the difficulties of the problem. He was never told about the history of the problem, and when he attempted the problem, he treated it as a normal homework problem and with that mindset, he made history. You too can do so, choose to ignore the stories that are often told about the challenges that face the economy, and choose to focus on solutions.
Who is in your life, and what are they speaking?
I can best guarantee you that if Dantzig was in class that day, he would not have made history. Fear was instilled in all the people who attended the lecture. Who is speaking in your life right now? What are they speaking into your life. There are people who are really good at inspiring fear in you. They can tell you every reason why you cannot achieve your dreams.
Sometimes, you do not need to hear a thousand reasons why you cannot do it; you just need one good reason why you can.
Surround yourself with people who challenge your thinking, and stretch you to greater limits. People who do not stretch you shrink you. I once wrote in my Personal Development book, that, “It is better to have no friends at all than to have a thousand friends who do not add any value to you.”
Start with the right mental attitude
It has often been said that your attitude determines your altitude. What is killing many people and working against our success is our attitude. Many people have registered failure in their system, and everything that they apply their mind to is bound to fail.
Everything that they do has to conform to this standard. We can never grow beyond our level of faith. Those who internalised the theories of the Professor may even have compared themselves to Albert Einstein and his achievements, and looked at themselves and they felt hopeless. One gentleman, who did not read about Einstein and other mathematician’s troubles, approached an age old problem as a normal problem.
He had the right attitude which was devoid of inherited fears. Why don’t you give yourself a chance? Forget the failures of the past, and choose to create breakthroughs of the future. Choose to make the future generation believe in possibility rather than in limitations.
Who said you should be compared to anyone. If Einstein failed it so what? If my father could not do it so what? If your boss could not do it, so what? Some people are not pursuing Masters Degrees simply because their superiors do not even think about pursuing their own studies. Challenge the standards which have been set by the people around you and create new solutions. Do not import other people’s failures into your life. You cannot be corrupt simply because everyone around you is doing it. Stand out, and make yourself visible to even greater and better opportunities. Next time someone tells you about people who have failed in the past, look them in the eye and ask them, “So what?”
◆ Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, business strategy facilitator commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal development. Arthur is the author of the “Personal Development Toolkit” among other inspirational books. Follow him on social media, or WhatsApp him on +263718867255 or email [email protected]