Immediately after the dot-com bubble burst, I attended a conference where in fact the CEO of a company that had seen its market cap gain and lose $50 billion in under 2 yrs, began his speech with, “Our industry comprises of geniuses that act collectively like idiots.”
The area erupted with laughter as a huge selection of high-tech executives that had spent days gone by six months trying to carry it together because of their management teams, their workers, and most of most, their investors, found release for an environment of pain and frustration.
Some people think about that era as a period when irrational exuberance gripped a whole industry and sent markets soaring to ludicrous heights and crashing back off to Earth in the blink of an eye, I view it much differently, thanks to an executive who had the cajones to lay it at risk for leaders who were smart enough to learn better.
What caused the bubble and its own inevitable crash was the normal belief among everybody – executives, analysts, investors, pundits and experts – that worldwide demand for internet services and infrastructure would rise indefinitely.
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If you ask me, the tech bubble remains the most glaring exemplory case of the potentially devastating impact of 1 of the very most pervasive concepts in today’s world, the oxymoron referred to as conventional wisdom.
The simple truth is, there is nothing conventional about wisdom. Wisdom is rare. And wisdom originates entirely from individuals, as does critical thought, problem solving, breakthrough insights, innovative concepts and strategies.
Granted, small groups or teams can offer a fertile environment for idea generation, but make no mistake: just about every idea originates from an individual’s brain. And the bigger the group, the much more likely it really is to succumb to the pressure to conform, generally known as groupthink.
How about the supposed wisdom of crowds or the smart collective? That only works in limited situations that primarily involve information retrieval or discrete answers to simple questions. Any other thing more complex than asking a crowd to select between four alternatives on Who would like to be considered a Millionaire, forget it.
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There is absolutely no wisdom in crowds. Likewise, what’s commonly called conventional wisdom is nothing of the type. Conventional wisdom maintains the status quo. It generates barriers to independent thought and breakthrough ideas. It’s an impediment to improve – the thing that can ever result in improvement. And it stops innovation dead in its tracks.
Likewise, strongly held beliefs or opinions – especially those fostered by crowds, organizations, convention, or societal norms – stifle critical thinking and good sense. There’s certainly nothing wise about this.
If you wish to be successful nowadays, you have to figure out how to think for yourself. To challenge what’s referred to as conventional wisdom. To break from the status quo. To remain off the bandwagon.
You should figure out how to carve your own path and formulate your own opinions. To believe and behave as a distinctive individual. To be true to yourself, not beholden to other people or anyone else’s ideals or beliefs.
The main thing that can be done to improve your likelihood of having a fulfilling career and a happy life is, out of this moment forward, to question how you may spend your time and effort, how you behave, and how you attained the road you’re on. Be true to yourself. And if you’re nearly sure who that’s, it’s time you began to find out.
So when you’re looking for insight, ideas, perspective, or direction – don’t search Google – search yourself. That’s where you’ll find real wisdom.
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