Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You're nuts if ...

If you're off the main path that normal people take, you're nuts.


Most people, at least the normal ones, will make the same choices in the same circumstances.  That's why they call it 'normal'; it's the norm It's predictable, low risk,  expected.  It's the way things are, the normal process, the only option.  There's tremendous pressure to keep to the path.

The pressure to conform assaults us early on.  As teens labor to emerge into adulthood, peer pressure constricts and directs so much of the process.  Later as adults, the expectation of others weighs heavily on us, erodes our confidence, and clouds our thinking.

The normal pathway is fine for most folks most of the time, but it's predictable.  Little personal progress will be made; don't expect change or anything new along the way.

Same-o, same-o, nothing in the brain-o.

OK you've chosen, your bridges are in flames, and now you're officially off the path.  You're nuts, but you've picked your path.  How do you work through the questions?

I'm off the main track.  True?
I've chosen this way.  Do I know why?
    Is it logic?  Is it a passion?  Is it a dream I've had since ....?

Either I'm really nuts ...
  ... or I see this point of focus;  it's important to me because ...
    I want to understand.
      I think I can make a difference.  I think I can help.
        I think I can see a way through.
           I'd be willing to spend myself if it will make a difference.
    I'd like to try.  I'd honestly like to do more than just what's expected, and I can face not being like everyone else.

It's all high-risk, unpredictable, and everybody thinks you're out in left field.

People you may have heard of and who were also nuts.  Gates, Jobs, Mother Theresa, Edison, Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Martin Luther, Issac Newton, Lottie Moon.  All off the main pathway, each with a motivation, an opportunity, an impact.  How'd they do?

So, you change the context of your life.  Change your worldview until it includes humanity.  See behind the headlines.  Skip the mainstream answers, and ask harder questions.  Push hard at the boundaries, at the cultural norms, at the expectations of others.  Courage is non-conformity.

Scared?  You bet. But you'll have more fun than the normal folks.

UPDATE:  DEC '13.  My African pastor friend decided with his wife to take in a bunch of orphans and help them stay healthy and get through school and have a home and family.  Sixteen of them; it's a mob scene!  He's off the beaten path, of course, but he says the smiles on the children's faces makes it worth the effort.  Let me know if you'd like to lend a hand; I'll introduce you to the family.