Conventional wisdom is, by default, drawn out of the mass experience of people…
Mass-experience translates to commonality, to averages, to medians. When you live your life based on conventional-wisdom, then, it stands to reason you can expect to live a conventional, average, middle-of-the-road life.
Question is—is that what you want?
Theodore Roosevelt wrote:
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
All too often, conventional wisdom leads to Roosevelt’s “gray twilight.”
When sales exec, Peter Bowerman, was considering a career as a writer, nearly everything he read told him to expect a brutal battle ahead. The only real way to earn a living was to establish a reputation as a top journalist, write for top magazines or land on the bestseller lists. Most writers, Peter learned, scraped by and worked largely as a labor of love. So, why bother? That was the conventional wisdom.
Good thing Peter wasn’t into convention.
Refusing to buy into the collective proclamations of poverty, Peter chose to find a different way to earn the living he needed while doing what made him come alive. He chose to see past convention. To view it as more of a challenge than a limitation. And, in doing so, he not only became the exception, but eventually took on the burden of spearheading the drive to make the exception become the new rule.
He researched the many different ways to earn a living as a writer and discovered a niche in writing for companies that paid extremely well. Peter then drew upon his sales background to formulate an approach to finding, then landing corporate clients.
Within months, with no formal background or portfolio, Peter was booked solid. He had more business than he could handle.
Time for stage two…
As others watched him succeed, Peter started getting a regular stream of calls and e-mails asking for writing career advice. After a while, Peter realized he’d given out enough advice to make a book. So, that’s exactly what he did.
Peter wrote “The Well Fed Writer” then self-published it and earned enough from that first book to live well in the world for the next 5 years. That book has now grown into a series of books, trainings and products that teach people how to do what he’s done, all of which generate a substantial living for Peter.
And, if he’d taken the advice of those around him before shifting paths, if he’d bought into conventional wisdom, he’d very likely never have made the jump into a career that not only fills him up, but pays his bills and then some.
Question is…what about you?
Are you stopping yourself from doing something that’d make you come alive, because conventional wisdom says you can’t do it? If so…
Maybe it’s time to rise above convention…
To explore the possibility that if conventional wisdom is what’s gotten you to this point in life, and this point isn’t all that satisfying…maybe conventional wisdom was wrong. Maybe it’s really not a barrier, but a test to weed out those who want it most and are unwilling to yield their dreams to the limiting proclamations of others.
What do you think?
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