Over the past few weeks I have shared several examples of defying conventional wisdom though history, medicine and even politics. So how, you might ask, can you begin to harness this power of unconventional thinking? I think it starts by having the right attitude, by seeing your environment as full of opportunity rather than full of adversity. And this perspective should not be limited just to your work, but it should permeate your general outlook on life. After all, some of the greatest inspirations and most profound unconventional ideas will come to you in moments and situations completely removed from your business. The whole world is your reservoir for unconventional ideas.
And here is a fun story about a skiing adventure that illustrates this point. Imagine doing a full day of intense skiing, and taking a chairlift up for the final run at the end of the afternoon. When you get off the lift, you find yourself at the top of a high mountain peak. It’s getting dark and you are feeling tired. Suddenly it hits you that the only way back to the village below is to ski down the single steep slope, which is beyond your ability. As you start to ski down filled with fear and reluctance, your instinct tells you to lean back away from the precipitous drop in front of you. However, this stance has exactly the opposite, unwanted effect. It puts pressure on the back of your skis, accelerating you down the slope and out of control. What should you do instead? You need to lean forward and push your weight on the front of your skis, which allows for a controlled descent.
This same approach holds in business during periods of adversity. If out of fear your gut reaction is to recoil and to start cutting costs just to survive, your very actions may be choking off the growth of your business and accelerating its potential demise. But if you lean forward and embrace the challenge of adversity, you may find ways not only to survive but to prosper. You can still cut costs or reallocate resources, but you do it in a way that has the strategic growth of your business in mind, not its mere survival.
For more savory bits jump right in with your own copy of my book Slingshot: Re-Imagine Your Business, Re-Imagine Your Life.
[Image via E4S.]