Conventional Wisdom: The great lie
Posted on January 28, 2010 by William Powell, One of Thousands of Leadership Coaches on Noomii.
Conventional wisdom is alive and well in our society. Some people value and cherish what it has to offer, but is it truly beneficial?
“They say…” has become the foundation for many arguments and reasoning by a great majority of people. This mentality and perception has become the purveyor of conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom thrives under the pretense of safety in numbers. The number of people who subscribe to an idea or mentality seems to be directly proportional to the perception of the accuracy or truthfulness of said idea; no matter how preposterous, inaccurate or unbeneficial this idea may be. Many of these ideas are appealing and convenient, which underscores the wide acceptance of these ideas.
Why, then, do we choose to adhere to the precepts typically contained within conventional wisdom? I think the best way to help understand this is to refer to the law of inertia which states: “An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.” Conventional wisdom has momentum, in other words inertia. It typically has a large following and has been traveling in the same direction for a number of years, in most cases. To fly in the face of conventional wisdom is uncomfortable and widely unaccepted and often ridiculed by the masses.
Due to the inherent nature of conventional wisdom, it resists the introduction of nearly anything new. The attempt at introducing new ideas, concepts or theories in the context of conventional wisdom reveals the true protectionist nature of conventional wisdom. It is not open to debate nor is it open to being challenged in any capacity. It is, in effect, not wisdom at all but rather pedantic for the sake of self preservation. This is not wisdom it is a fear based survival method.
How can we overcome this seemingly impenetrable mentality? The first step is to simply give conventional wisdom the weight it deserves, which is markedly less consideration that it is given by most people at present. Understanding that it is nothing more than a widely accepted idea is a good start to overcoming this mentality. It exists primarily because it is appealing, convenient and most likely non-confrontational or offensive.
If we choose to subscribe to being bound by conventional wisdom, we are significantly diminishing the possibilities of our future. We are allowing something, which many times isn’t truthful or accurate, to dictate our decision making process and our consequent future. If our beliefs and decisions are centered on a lie, then the degree to which our future is diminished is directly proportional to the level of inaccuracy of the lie we’re choosing to believe, in other words conventional wisdom.
So many clients talk to me about their fears, which have significant roots in their belief system, and how those fears prevent them from doing something different. Their belief system dictates that they believe the lie of conventional wisdom. With no qualifying reason, other than conventional wisdom, I have had numerous clients tell me that they weren’t able to do something. Once they understood that their future didn’t have to be dictated by the influence of conventional wisdom and that they could be the “outside force” referred to in the law of inertia, they became extremely excited at the possibilities that they were able to then see for themselves and their future. In reference to an article in my Personal Development series, they became congruent.
Let me encourage you to be that “outside force” which affects the inertial movement of conventional wisdom. Don’t fall into the trap of believing something just because it’s appealing or convenient. You have dreams and ideas that don’t fit into the limiting confines of conventional wisdom, so don’t let the lie short circuit your ambition to fulfill the things about which you have become passionate and bastardize your dreams. Live from a place of passion. Drive a stake into the ground a declare that you will move forward and be a person who lives out of a place of conviction and refuses to settle for anything less than your dreams. This is truly living a life without limits. We only have one life to live and one legacy to leave behind. Make it count! Don’t believe the limiting lies of conventional wisdom.