Conventional wisdom sucks. Yup, I said it. It’s for those people without clear goals, discipline, commitment, desire, and an open mind.
Conventional wisdom is someone else’s idea of how things should be done. You may find it routed in some of these:
- Nutritional approach
- Exercise habits
- At work
- At home
There is one guarantee in this life and that guarantee is change. Your body, your mind, your job, your family, your relationships, your health, your environment, all of these things and then some are constantly evolving and if you aren’t willing to evolve with the rest of the world you’ll be left behind.
Some of you may disagree but I feel confident in saying that most of us want to be in control of our own lives. You probably want to be a valuable asset to those closet to you and the community you are involved in. You most likely want to make a difference, do something bigger than yourself, and contribute to society and others in a meaningful way.
I’m not saying to challenging everything but those that create the biggest impact are not afraid to do so when they see something that is flawed.
It’s hard to change someone else’s mind, and hell it’s even hard to change your own mind when you have been taught and practice things for essentially your entire life. Why? because this means you have to admit that your wrong and we all know how difficult that can be Guilty as charged.
This post isn’t about rebelling against the status quo, changing minds, or being different for the sake of being different. It’s about opening up to the possibility that there is more than one way to do things and to experiment, get educated, and explore those possibilities so that you can set an example for others to embrace change and explore all that is out there.
Search for answers for yourself but while doing so respect the opinions of others.
Conventional Wisdom: The good
Some things will just stand the test of time. Gravity for instance is conventional wisdom that just makes sense. It keeps us safe. If I go jump off a bridge tomorrow I can guarantee you I will be hurling towards the ground. I’m grateful for this, I accept it, and will not be challenging the wisdom anytime soon.
Often conventional wisdom is supported by really great people that have the best interest of others at heart. They mean well, and the ideas and motives are genuine.
What happens when you poke conventional wisdom with a stick?
1. It often creates laziness: It doesn’t take much effort to roll with conventional wisdom. Often when confused, tired, or scared we opt for the easiest and safest path that requires the least amount of work.
It doesn’t take much effort to continue doing what you’ve always been doing even though you know it is not producing the results you hope for.
It takes work to experiment, try new things, and is often uncomfortable to stray from the majority opinion.
2. Truth is subjective: Just because something works for one person and not for another does not mean it should be registered invalid. This is never more evident in the world of nutrition. I’ve seen people have success with all sorts of approaches.
I talk Paleo because in my opinion it works well for the majority of the population. However, it doesn’t mean it is the best approach for you. The important thing is to find out. Experiment, take notes, and evaluate. Don’t just sit on your ass doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
3. It tests relationships: Your friends, your family, your significant other might not see eye to eye with you if you decide to challenge conventional wisdom.
The majority of people don’t like change. Familiarity is safe and secure and as we’ve discussed here before – safety and security is a primal instinct ingrained in us going back to our caveman days.
If you decide that it is in your best interest to create change, that often means you will be creating change for those closest to you. This makes people uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is scary, so in turn you may get resistance and backlash.
4. You will be criticized: If you decide to take big risks you most likely will find yourself on an island all alone. Occasionally you’ll get a visitor that pats you on the back to say good for you, but most often that visit is short lived.
Taking big risks leaves you vulnerable. It exposes you, your thoughts, and your beliefs. You will be criticized, you will be laughed at, and you may even be thought to be a tad on the crazy side.
But remember, these people were crazy at some point too.
5. This is going to take a while: Conventional wisdom has been around forever. To change it will take time. Just like starting your own business, getting back into shape, and getting our of debt (damn school loans) it’s going to be a low process that requires consistency and patience.
It will be exhausting at times, you will not always be motivated, you may hit plateaus, and hell, you may even consider yourself a little loco from time to time. I’m sure you’ll question whether your pursuits are even worth it or not.
Where to go from here?
Do you need to change conventional wisdom? Absolutely not. But if you’re unhappy with where it has gotten you so far it’s important to not just accept it as the only truth. Build a base of evidence and provide yourself with information that will allow you to decide for yourself if there is a better way.
There are so many resources available to us now that create so many opportunities but you have to put in the work.
- I just don’t have the skills
- I just don’t have the resources
- I just don’t have the finances
- I just don’t, insert your own here ________________
- Even the free resources here on this site and others are terrific.
You can now learn new skills and take advantage of free resources that require little to no financial investment.
All of the examples above are a fantastic way to open your mind to new experiences, thoughts, and theories.
It’s mine, yours, and the dude sitting next to you responsibility to get amazing information out there so that others understand that there is more than one way to achieve your dreams.
Where are you not satisfied with the answers you have been getting? Do the work, research, and test.