There is a saying: If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you. If you make people really think, they will hate you.
In Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, he talks about how people stand in long lines and buy tickets from scalpers to see Britney Spears. Yet, in China, they stand in long lines and scalp tickets to hear Bill Gates speak. Friedman makes this point to question American values and priorities.
Britney helps us escape reality. Great innovators such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Frederick Douglas, Henry Ford and, for those of you who want to think, Nikola Tesla, helped us invent new realities.
Why do we, at first, condemn those who give us new realities?If you factor in my previous article where I said we all have an identity that was given to us, you start to understand why true thinking makes us uncomfortable.
I distinguish thinking from having thoughts. Thoughts are the process of organizing the current knowledge and experience you have to come up with ideas about your present or future situation. Thinking, on the other hand, requires you to envision that which you have not thought or experienced. The dilemma is that thinking forces you to consider possibilities for which you do not have it all figured out and thus creates confusion. Too often, leaders avoid confusion because it makes them look unconfident when they do not know the answers.
Since we are taught that confused people lack confidence, we do not consider that confusion could be the pathway to brilliance. We do not even consider that there are tools that empower us to navigate through confusion. We go about our daily lives looking up to people who entertain us and make us comfortable with our current thoughts. As I said, when people make us think we are thinking we love them. That is because they meet us where we are – our current reality – and ask us to stretch it just enough to make us proud.
I mentioned Nikola Tesla. He promulgated wireless technology in the early 1900s. The scientific world called him a fool. They said if you send out a wireless signal, it will continue out into space for infinity. They believed a wireless signal could not travel around the earth. For the scientific community, that was reality. And they lived it like a fact. What reality do you hold as a fact and live like that is just the way it is? (or, I can say: where would society be if we were more open to new realities of inventors?)
I encourage you to step out of the box and think that which you have never thought. If you would like to know about the tools that can support you, start a conversation about some impossibility that you would like to see become reality. You will be amazed at the possibilities that are hidden in plain site.
Please let me know what you think in the comments. Leave your questions or let me know if you'd like my perspective on an issue. I always try to address each note individually.