Sunday, May 04, 2008

Thinking out loud :: reliance on conventional wisdom is damning

There is a somewhat healthy tendency in every discipline to defer to the knowledge of elders. Starting with the original “apprenticeship” structures of the 19th century to the traditional corporate hierarchies that permeate our life today, societies are built on collective wisdom from the past. Major conferences around the world gather industry “experts” to share their wisdom. We painstakingly listen to our elders’ projections as if they were coming from an oracle.

However, for the small portion of society that is tasked with innovation and pushing the edge, a reliance on conventional wisdom is damning. We must seek advice with a dose of skepticism, and we must always consider the merits of developing new platforms rather than just derivatives.
Behance Magazine

I came across this golden nugget of advice while working through the 100+ feeds I read on an almost daily basis (Google Reader is a wonderful invention) and it challenged me.

In all I seek to do... am I relying on conventional wisdom? and if so, whose?

Behance goes on to offer 3 tips for avoiding over reliance on conventional wisdom and experience:
  1. Don’t judge someone based on age... but on skill.
  2. Question the correlation between past accomplishments and present knowledge.
  3. Beware of conventions... anything can be improved.
I'm not suggesting that we should repeat the mistakes of the past. What I am suggesting, however, is that life is like the stock market and shares :: previous performance does not predict future performance. Just because it worked... doesn't mean it will continue to work.
"...being like your grandfather, is not wearing HIS hat, but going out and buying a new one, like he did..."
An old friend once said this (or words to that effect) > conventional wisdom would suggest that if the hat worked for my grandfather... then I should get one like his... BUT... I need to get my own hat. I need to get one that works for me... that suits me... that's my style.

Prior to reading the article... I watched the wonderful Evan Almighty... the comedy where an ordinary Hummer-driving Congressman called Evan Baxter is called by God to build an ark... like a modern-day Noah. Conventional wisdom... the advice of his peers and his elders... was pretty much... pack it in... leave it alone... walk away.

As Evan shows... sometimes you have to do your own thing. When it comes to this life... we need to stop following convention... experience... guidance. We need to stop relying on abstracts like security (physical and financial)... and prosperity... and start following God. That's the true meaning of faith... but hey... don't take my word for it.

My thanks to Behance Magazine for their continued inspiration... upon which I will build upon :-)
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