“There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe, that Nature has given him something peculiar to himself.” – Samuel Johnson
Business and life parallel themselves in different ways.
And they often have similar repercussions.
Desire for distinction is one of those things.
I believe the majority of people have a desire for some type of distinction.
As do businesses.
Ah. But the difference.
100% of businesses have a desire for distinction <rather than most of the people>.
Ok. Not just businesses but anything associated with making money. And it isn’t just a desire but rather it is a focus … and a blinding relentless pursuit of distinction which sometimes reaches absurd levels.
Think about this:
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. - C. S. Lewis
I love the combination of these thoughts.
- We desire to be distinct.
- If we do not try to be distinct we may become so without even noticing it.
Distinction is one of those fabulous things that the more you try to be distinct the less likely you will actually be so <at least in a meaningful way>.
And if I could convince more companies to think about this with clear heads I am not sure i would make any more money but I am sure they would.
I know, I know … easy for me to say <not the money thing but rather the ‘they should do’ thing>.
But the pursuit of the elusive distinction can sometimes drive businesses to some fairly irrelevant, if not absurd, and absolutely meaningless places. I know it sounds crazy but if they ignored the whole distinction goal I bet it would happen. Well. It would happen if they were smart about focusing on themselves … who they were and who they wanted to be.
So let’s call it a crazy smart idea.
But tough to do <as most crazy smart ideas are>. Tough because it doesn’t exactly match up with the standard “this is how you are supposed to do it” management guides.
Maybe that is the most important point.
There are a lot, a shitload, of crazy smart business people out there.
But there are not a lot of crazy smart business people willing to do something crazy like ignore the business books “plan to success” blueprints.
Here is where I put my money.
The few. Those crazy enough to not plan for distinction but rather let distinction and originality simply evolve from who they are, what they think and their vision of what they think they should be.
But in a world where the majority of businesses, and new ideas, fail … maybe this isn’t a crazy a thought as it sounds.