Before the age of 25 common sense may be a good thing. Between the ages of 25 and 40 it could make you wealthy and land you a top position in a prestigious firm. After that it is a worthless rag, a constricting mould, a pair of steel cuffs and a blindfold.
Diversity is reality. Eastern culture when contrasted with Western culture, rich contrasted with poor, black contrasted with white, male female, city dweller rural dweller, left brain right brain, corporate entrepreneur, capitalist socialist – the list of opposing standpoints is endless.
Every standpoint or view of the world is valid and true within its context. The common sense of Eastern culture when laid side by side with Western culture offers more contradiction than commonality – yet both are true within their context. To embrace and to enjoy Paradox as in this example is an important step in both your business and your personal life. From a business point of view every paradox offers a rich business opportunity. From a personal point of view embracing paradox leads to a diverse life full of interesting people and useful relationships.
Illustration: The sum of reality and the human experience is like all the sand on all the beaches in the world. The particles of sand are too vast to comprehend, yet every one is true and valid regardless of their physical position, chemical composition, colour or texture. People when confronted with this vastness take a few handfuls of sand – from this they create a view of reality that suits them best. The simplified view of reality created by a gay man is going to be very different from that of the man who is straight. The simplified view of reality created by an inner city drug dealer is going to be very different from a suburban mother who has her children enrolled at a private school.
Common sense – a herding tactic
Diversity therefore blows common sense out of the water; “common sense” is a herding tactic. It is a pressure tactic for you to ignore your right to select the sand particles from the beach according to what suits you best. In addition, it is a manipulation tactic to get you to select particles based on someone else’s preferences.
As a teenager observing herding tactics can be useful and get you to adulthood in one piece. After that herding tactics can assist in making you acceptable within your context probably leading to moderate success and even promotion at work. Once however you are reasonably established, stable, even mature, the call for common sense is nonsense. Now is the time to explore your uniqueness and to see where it dovetails with the diversity of the world around you.
- From a personal point of view throwing common sense out of the window can be the most liberating and exciting adventure. It will allow you to profoundly and deeply explore those nuances and eccentricities that make you the person you are.
- From a business point of view, finding your unique selling proposition (essential for success) becomes easy because you are working from a base of authentic uniqueness.
This post is the first in a 100 part series of “The Road less Travelled” – a liberating series focusing on both personal and business success in a noisy and chaotic world.
Coach Steve Eilertsen is an international personal and business coach who focuses on values. He is not for the faint-hearted or the small thinker but he can get things to add up. You can book a complimentary exploratory session with him from the menu above.