By Charlie Tweeder
This post was written on August 31, 2015
If everyone is buying Apple, then I’m buying McDonald’s. If everyone is doing a “Boot Camp”, then I’m by myself at the squat rack in the ratty gym. If everyone is watching NFL on Sundays, then I’m watching re-runs of “Little House on the Prairie”.
While some of these statements are an obvious exaggeration, the point is that I don’t do anything without a reason (as best as I can), but I most certainly will not do anything because everyone else is. The concept of value plays a lot into decisions that make me appear purely contrarian. The truth is I hate labels, since they trap you into behaviour that is based on a pre-determined set of rules or principles. You don’t evaluate the situation properly and it doesn’t allow you to grow as a person. You will not be adaptable. Have a conversation with any fervent Republican or Democrat – you will see an example of the symptoms of boxing yourself into labels.
A few years ago the Philadelphia Eagles, my favourite NFL team hired Chip Kelly as their head coach (now former). He is known to be a little unconventional, almost contrarian if you will. When asked about his approach, Kelly was quoted the following:
“It’s to get them to understand if we’re going to do something, there’s an importance to it,” Kelly said in a wide-ranging story by The Journal Times in Delaware. “If there’s an importance to it, then we should be able to explain that to you. Not just do it because we said so.
“We don’t do things just for the sake of doing things. This isn’t change for the sake of change. This is change that we believe is necessary, because we believe in what we’re doing and we’ve got evidence to prove that it’s going to work.”
That quote likely sums things up well. You need to be an analytical mind I suppose, but it is more about asking “why is everyone doing things this way?”. This requires asking yourself “what would be another way of doing this, that might work as good or better?”. You aren’t doing things for the sake of being contrarian; you are doing things because it suits yourself and the situation. If you fail, you still learn. Take risks, getting things wrong or making mistakes can be a good thing. Another sports coach I admire offers another perspective:
“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.” – Coach Mike Krzyzewski