Archive for February, 2012

Confronting Convention—Ron Jones

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Excerpt from GreenBuilder 01.2012

A favorite story of mine comes from an interview with Thomas Edison who, late in his life, reportedly confided that if he “had known anything about metallurgy” he would never have invented the incandescent light bulb, because he “would have known it is impossible”.

The human imagination may be among the most powerful forces in the universe, but without the courage to exercise it, to challenge “conventional wisdom” and to embrace the endless possibilities, we are doomed to go along with outdated ideas and obsolete concepts that not only perpetuate our ignorance, but actually promote collective laziness and conservatism, leaving us increasingly unwilling to accept change, even when it is clearly in our own best interest.

The path of least resistance is found by going along with accepted thinking, because we don’t want to risk the embarrassment of being wrong, or simply because we assume that others already agree with whatever is being said. Sadly, that is a path to nowhere.

Worse yet, we fool ourselves into believing we are part of the “solution” by participating in established institutions who on the surface appear to be seeking progress but who, in fact, use us to advance predetermined agendas. Their process has been perfectly described as “transactional, not deliberative” and they are masters at herding the rest of us in directions of their choosing.

Fortunately, there is another type of person who has the intellectual capacity and the courage to challenge the status quo, to confront conventional pluralistic ignorance and push the boundaries of the existing comfort zone.

MY COMMENT—In this difficult economy, those business persons who survive will be those who stretch themselves to reach bigger markets and are networked through companies and organizations that reach for excellence. Stability through these tough times will pay big dividends when the economy turns around…as it will. DDH