Business and Operations
Beware of Conventional Wisdom
By Jan Peter Aursnes
By Jan Peter Aursnes
April 27, 2009 – The most debilitating mindset a person can have
is blindly and uncritically accepting conventional wisdom.
And while there are certainly concepts and widely accepted
viewpoints that are based in fact and are worthy of your consideration, you
must do your own research and make informed decisions based on your own points
of reference. Unfortunately, many people let others determine their path rather
than take the time to lay out their own.
Realize that societal norms can train and push you into a
preset mold that might not be best suited for you. You are a unique peg, and if
you are trying to fit yourself into a predetermined, yet mismatched opening,
you are limiting your own potential.
If you want to go your own way, you might have to just
create your own space. In the process, though, society will pick up on what you
are doing and start giving you unsolicited feedback. This is when you need to
stay true to yourself and not just automatically accept the conventional
wisdom. What might seem like the easy road at first due to societal norms might
in fact be a major mistake if the end result is that you are incredibly unhappy
and feel as if you are not tapping into your unlimited potential. It is just a
matter of finding your passion and channeling your efforts toward your specific
goals. As you pave your own path in life, consider the following suggestions.
Think like a child
Children have a natural curiosity. In fact, one of the most
endearing traits of children is their innocence and purity. When a kid walks
into a room, everything is new and filled with endless possibility. “What’s
this? What’s that? How come?” Their viewpoint can be a valuable lesson.
As a child develops and moves on into adulthood, they are
trained what to ask, what not to ask, what is socially acceptable, and what is
not. This can have unintended consequences, because it can be enormously
impairing for you if your subconscious mind prevents you from breaking out as
you grow older. And while there are understandable reasons why some subjects
might be off limits, and there is a certain level of decorum that should exist,
the point is that from a very early age you are taught to keep your
expectations in check, based on what is socially acceptable.
If you let this carry over into too many areas of your life
and you fail to seek the answers that are important to you, it is possible that
you will find yourself swept into the mainstream current that will limit your
ability to make great things happen and challenge yourself, and society, to
improve. Therefore, let the childlike curiosity within yourself emerge and
explore the world and yourself from a new perspective.
Be aware of your influences
The majority of people’s thinking is influenced by outside
impulses. Radio, TV, newspapers, the internet, politicians, friends, family,
and colleagues inundate you with opinions and images on any manner of things
regardless of having any knowledge about the subject or not. This can be
dangerous and detrimental to your well-being and happiness, because your
thinking is mostly made up of projections, pictures you have seen, or ideas you
have read or heard from somewhere else.
The fact is that 95 per cent of the pictures you see in your
mind today are the very same images you had yesterday. It has been said that
two per cent of the population of the world actually thinks, three percent
thinks they think, and 95 per cent would rather die than think. Therefore, you
need to think, and think critically, to move forward and accomplish great
things in life.
Always remember that you can offer the world a specific and
unique perspective, but you must be willing to go out on a limb. If you let
your others in your life tell you, or convince you, to do or not to do something
without investigating the matter thoroughly, you will be doing yourself and the
world a disservice. The world needs your unique perspective. In fact, society
depends on unique perspectives for innovation and growth.
To value someone else’s opinion is understandable and
expected. However, you must be careful to realize the difference between
incorporating other people’s opinions into the mix and just blindly adopting
them as your own without proper vetting and consideration. Likewise, don’t fall
into the trap of seeking and relying too much on the advice of like-minded
people, which serves only to reinforce your preconceived notions. This does not
do you any good, as you need perspective. These people are often no more
knowledgeable than you are, and you need to expose yourself to a wide variety
of information and seek out more experienced and expert advice.
Do your research
Sometimes the resistance you might experience from others is
because you are forcing them to take a good, hard look at their own situation
and circumstances. The idea of facing one’s own fears can lead to a
subconscious effort to sabotage another’s desires. There might be legitimate
concern for your well-being if you try to break out of the norm, but you also
have to weigh the possibility that people are afraid of what it might mean for
them if you succeed. That is why you need to always do your own research.
Your friends and family might have valid concerns, so you
don’t want to go through life blind to the advice of those you hold dear, but
you must recognize the difference between valid issues and those people who are
having difficulty facing their own self-doubt. Sometimes it might be especially
hard to root for someone if you are not happy in your own life, but if you are the
one being skeptical, you have to ask yourself the question: “Am I really
finding fault with what this person is trying to accomplish or am I just having
a difficult time facing my own unhappiness?”
Choose your thoughts
The thoughts you choose – whether happy or sad, positive or
negative – will eventually determine your results. All pain, pleasure,
abundance, or limitations are either originated in your conscious mind or
accepted uncritically from an outside source. Your thoughts express themselves through
your feelings, your feelings decide your actions, and your actions determine
your results; therefore, you must consider that your past or present results
are not a result of your potential, which is infinite, but a result of your
past or present thinking. To change your results, change your thinking.
If you want something and you feel it is in the best
interest of you and your family, do not let others tell you that you cannot do
something. Even though you might be tempted to take the path of least resistance
and you might be facing difficult circumstances, if you believe in yourself and
your dream, you can succeed. There will be risk involved for sure, and the path
to a fulfilling life will not be easy, but you have the capability to realize
Create the life of your dreams
Remember that you have the ability to achieve great things.
Do not let conventional wisdom be a deterrent if you have found your passion
and believe that what you are doing will lead to a more fulfilling life. You
have to be prepared to change your mindset and take action. When you do, your
dreams will become reality.
Use your mind, use your creativity, revert back to your
childhood curiosity, and realize that you can achieve great things and go where
you want to go in life. Dream big, make your own informed decisions, take the
necessary steps toward your goals, and beware of conventional wisdom.
About the Author:
Jan Peter Aursnes is the author of “Unlock Your Future: The
Key to a Fulfilling Life,” an independent licensed LifeSuccess consultant and
owner of Quantum Leaps Consulting, LLC.
With a degree in management sciences from the University of Manchester,
England, Jan Peter has 27 years experience in the corporate world. He also worked for the International Red Cross
as a delegate in the Republic of Georgia.
His focus is on assisting people and companies to set high goals – and
reach them. Contact Jan Peter for speaking or coaching at (561) 868-1815 or