A Rational Defense of Illogical Thinking
Doing what’s different isn’t arrived at by mass consensus. No amount of empirical testing can prove being different yields unprecedented ROI. Nor can the same study prove a different approach leads to certain death. What is guaranteed by daring to be that different thing, is that it is the most basic step in the game of being memorable.
Isn’t that what we all want? To be interesting enough for others to remember and appreciate? Well, maybe some of us dream of blissful anonymity in some creekside log cabin of our own devices, but if you are in the business of business, or somehow involved in a society where goods and services carry monetary considerations that can pave the way to an easier means of living, you might want to be somewhat memorable.
If you are a giant corporation fighting for airtime, screentime and maybe even have ambitions of finding a little section in peoples’ hearts, then you probably really, really want to be memorable. You don’t get there by seeing what the other guy did and saying, “That, but in a different color,’ or “That, but with a different (cooler, more relevant, etc) celebrity.”
You get memorable by ignoring the rules, being a human and doing your damndest to walk a different way than that other guy you are fixating on.
You ignore the rules, but you don’t act clueless. Having some razor sharp people around who can dissect business problems and navigate the cultural context is very helpful.
Doing the illogical or being different doesn’t mean you’ve been granted free license to ‘do whatever.’ It means, figure out the playing field, and then do what you think you’re not supposed to on that specific field. Know what’s played out. Know what is a first reaction. Analyze. Dig. Come up with 50 solutions. Sleep on it. See which ones you like 24 hours later. Come up with plenty of options and then hand select the three most different ones. Hold onto one as your favorite.
Hell, you can really do your homework and go for the extra credit by analyzing those choices, and figure out what makes them so wrong. Then turn that around and figure out what makes them 100% right and bulletproof for the identical reasons.
Billy Shakespeare once said, “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” So use your damn thinking and show us why your different thing is good. Why it’s different will be apparent to everyone. It will be laughed off. Met with “We could never do that,” or the all time roadblock cliche of a comment, “what were you smoking?!”
Comments like those mean you are really close to the right, wrong idea.
Time to dig in deeper and find a way to explain why it is a perfect solution to the problem that nestles perfectly with the larger unfolding of society and the ongoing cultural narrative in general.
Being different is an ongoing dare to yourself and others that will never feel perfectly comfortable, because the means of being different will constantly change and feel a little or a lot wrong every time.
That wrong feeling is called your gut. It’s your greatest asset. Follow it. Defend it. Get it out there.
(This all made perfect sense tonight in one of those frenzied Jerry Maguire keyboard rattling epiphanies. We’ll see how I feel about all this in the morning….)