This past week we had a terrible snowstorm in Toronto. I went for a quick walk at lunch, grabbed a coffee and went up to my office which is on the 19th floor. From my office, you can see right down Yonge Street. It was an amazing sight and within 20 minutes we were in the midst of a blizzard. As the afternoon marched on, I watched the traffic with curiosity. I had a dinner later that night so there was no rush to leave early, however, I noticed that everyone else was leaving. When you combine everyone leaving the office early in the midst of a full on blizzard the end result is a lot of people getting stuck in traffic.
Fast forward to 7:15 PM in my office. I was getting on the elevator with one other person. I mentioned that he was leaving late and he said, “Yes, there was no point leaving early, I would just have been stuck in traffic”. Why do we follow the crowd? Well, I think it is a few things – momentum and fear. If everyone else is leaving, I guess I should too! What will others think? Maybe it will get worse!
Apple is one of my favorite brands. For many years their tagline was "think different". This gentleman was thinking different. Rather than going with the crowd, he left later and probably got home about 15 minutes later than those who left the office 3 hours earlier. I rustled up Apple’s original campaign. Here is some of the text.
Here’s to the crazy ones: The misfits; The rebels; The troublemakers; The round pegs in the square holes; The ones who see things differently – They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo.
In 1997, Steve Jobs came back to Apple as CEO. Apple’s sales had dropped by 50% and one of the key things he observed was they needed to "think different". “We need to focus on what we can do, not how we can compete against Microsoft". Just like the gentleman on the elevator who thought, why compete against everyone else? Why not take my own way home? Do you feel like a round peg in a square hole? What can you do to start the journey of being different? Great companies and individuals can get trapped by thinking like the market. Before you know it, you are a square peg! There is a risk, but my experience with clients is in a majority of cases, thinking differently will result in a more successful career, more fun and you will probably get home before your neighbor!
This months draw is for a signed copy of my new book which is coming out soon. (Chapters/Indigo) Share some of your "Think Different" moments in my blog ..
Along the road with you,