Short version:
Don’t stop challenging and pushing against what you perceive to be questionable logic.

While most of us would probably like to believe that everything we are told is the truth (i.e., a fact), or that it is the best way of doing things, neither of these is necessarily so. I am not saying that we should treat people as if they were lying. I am saying that people inherently want to believe that if someone tells them that something is so, then it is (for the most part).

What this does not allow for is error on the part of the person who told them this supposed truth, or error on our part for not being particularly knowledgeable about that particular thing. So, if something doesn’t sound right, or if we have a feeling that something is possible – even if others say it is not – we need to pursue it.

Longer version:

If it weren’t for people with vision, and a passion that drove them (or in this case, flew them), where would we be today? – on a flat world, stuck on the ground, not believing that, if we put our heads and hearts into action, we can “fly”. Don’t worry, I’m well aware of how cheesy that sounds. The thing is, I love cheese.

But possible cheesiness aside, the fact remains: the Wright brothers, and others like them, refused to accept what people said could or could not be done. I don’t know about you, but in my time, I have faced that negative attitude time and again, and it can be soul-destroying.

You may not build a revolutionary form of transport; it may be something “small” by comparison; but even if it is “only” a new system that helps your business – or employer – save money, you may still come up against those naysayers who are so used to doing things a certain way, that the thought of accepting anything else is just too much for them to handle. I know of companies that would rather spend thousands every year on postage than invest in an electronic invoice delivery system. It’s not about the cost; it’s about being stuck in a rut, and the thought of getting out of it hurts too much.

These people – if they are even prepared to have a discussion – will do everything they can to convince you that your vision is either unnecessary, or just too much effort. Now, while this is in the context of someone with relatively little influence who is trying to affect change within an organisation, the point remains: you will face people who will challenge your bold ideas for any number of reasons – fear of what could happen to them, fear of what could happen to you… or they just think you’re crazy and could never achieve the thing you want to do. They would be far more comfortable if you would just accept their version of reality.

Do not let people like this get to you. Easier said than done, I know. Instead, why not let people like this fuel you. If you are your own boss, then there’s less standing in your way. You might not be able to avoid all naysayers, but at least you can make changes without having to convince a boss. If, however, you feel stuck in a work situation that saps the life out of you for reasons such as this, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your worth – to yourself, your loved ones, and people you don’t even know.

You have something to offer the world, and if you are being held back, perhaps you should start working on an Escape Plan. There are plenty of great resources available to help you do this; one such book – by Marianne Cantwell – is Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills. I have read twice, and can heartily recommend for anyone who has had enough of doing things a certain way because, well, that’s the way we’ve always done it… Nuts to that! I’ll cover some important points Marianne makes in another post, so be sure to look out for it.

For now, though, let me encourage you to challenge the “conventional norms”, and where you have the ability to do something about it, do something.

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