Most people are wrong

CrowdMost people don’t like creativity. They say they do, but they don’t. They say they’re creative, but they’re not. They say, “we need more creativity around here” but they do nothing to allow that to happen. They say “we value creativity around here” but they actively seek to stamp it out.

Most people tell me that “you’re either creative or you’re not” and “genius is born, not made”, despite the massive evidence and research done to prove the opposite.

Most people have very good reasons why they can’t pursue their dreams, use their talents in their work, do work they enjoy, set up their own business, write their book, make a difference. Most people are very eloquent when it comes to telling me why it can’t be done. (They must have really thought it through.)

What I’ve found is that most people appear arrogant and certain but are in reality dramatically lacking in confidence in their abilities and self worth. Most people appear to be confident and optimistic about the future but in reality they’re panicking that they can clearly see the end of the line zooming up ahead of them and their money is running out. Most people lash out and blame. Most people say “It’s not fair”.

Most people secretly feel they could do more with their lives. Most people have told me they’d be massively philanthropic if they could just keep the wolf from the door in the rat race of their run-of-the-mill clichéd employment.

Most people think they have liberal, enlightened views, but subscribe to dogma and prejudice. Most people think they might be an idealist with passions but are trapped by routine and conservative risk-averse thinking.

Most people think I’m wacky, eccentric, bohemian, odd, nuts, crazy, colourful, even dangerous. I like dangerous. I’ve been compare to Willy Wonka and Doctor Who. I’ve been called inspirational. But I’ve also been called rubbish. I’ve been told “I don’t like your suit”.

I’ve been told, “you need to tone it down a bit” and that I need to “look more business-like”. and “there are too many photos on your website”. I’ve been told, “we don’t want you around here again, you incite people to rebel”.

I’ve been told, “we don’t want you to speak at our event, everyone will want to leave the company.”

Really? What could I possibly say that could achieve that? If that statement is true, that company is already walking on thin ice. Can a stranger come onto the stage and in 45 minutes incite everyone to totally change their lives? They give me more credit than I deserve. I wish I had that sort of power. But I don’t. All I can do is describe how things could be better, perhaps should be better, perhaps can be better.

Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them (thanks to Joseph Heller, author of Catch 22).

I’ve been told I need to be more like most people. Most people want us all to be like most people. Most people are wrong.

When we’re driving somewhere and can’t get there because there are too many cars on the road, we tend to say, “I’m stuck in traffic”. The truth is that we’re not stuck in traffic, we ARE the traffic. The responsibility for not being part of the traffic is about taking personal responsibility. Most people hide in the crowd and yet imagine they’re different from crowd and yet make up the crowd. The decision not to be like most people is a tough personal one. It comes with risks and dangers. But it also comes with rewards, satisfaction and joy.

Perhaps Steve Jobs and Apple put it best:

“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. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. 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.”*

Let’s all make the decision today.

Let’s not be most people.

* Did you know that text is written on the icon for “All my files” (in Lion) and TextEdit (In Snow Leopard) in Mac OSX?

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5 comments on “Most people are wrong

  1. That first bit there was definitely talking about the principal (headmaster) at my first teaching job. He commissioned me to revamp the curriculum for two required courses, but then (although he claimed he loved the innovation) wouldn’t give me time to implement any of it because he wanted the students to take more standardized exams…. I ran like a rat escaping a sinking ship from that job after two years and landed a great one where I was allowed to develop curriculum–and then actually use it!

    As for the rest of the article, like the line about being the traffic. Very good reminder. I won’t start driving on the sidewalks, though.

    And… I’m ambivalent about the suit, but the curls are charming.


    • When I was told ‘don’t like your suit’ I was wearing the one you can see me wearing in this video which is a replica of the Beatles first American tour suit from February 1964 which they wore in the Washington shows and in the film A Hard Day’s Night. The person who said it was, and remains a nobody, unlike the suit which is steeped in history and glory. I rest my case.


  2. Yes, as the billboard ad says, I am part of the traffic, but the traffic jam is usually caused by someone not obeying the perfectly sensible rules and creating an almighty ****up. If they had followed the rules everyone could have enjoyed a free flowing traffic experience…


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