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Why you need to be a contrarian

Posted Jul 24 2012 10:49pm
If you follow the herd, you are likely to perform exactly as well ( or as badly) as the herd performs ! Most people are quite happy to be average, because it’s comforting to be part of the crowd. Man is a social animal, and it’s much easier to just go along with what everyone is doing – after all, aren’t crowds supposed to be wise ?

Trying to think independently can be hard work – and this is something which few people are willing to
do . Sadly, most students today are not even able to do this, even if they wanted to. They have spent so many years in school , sitting passively while their brains are crammed full of facts , which they are then taught to dutifully regurgitate in their exams, in order to score 100%, that they are incapable of having a single original thought for themselves.

Most people believe that if you want to do well in life, you just need to follow conventional wisdom . This is why 10 years ago , during the dot com boom days , everyone wanted to be a computer engineer, because that’s where all the money was. Little did they realize that booms are followed by busts – and that when they plan , they need to think about what the world is likely to be 10 years from now, rather than deluding themselves into believing that it will be the same as it is today.

If you want to be average, then you should follow the crowd – after all, this is what the definition of average is ! However, if you want to be successful, you need to be different. Common sense will tell you if you follow traditional wisdom , you will never be able to stand out from the crowd.  It’s because most people just do what everyone else is doing that they end up not being successful – there are too many of them of them who have exactly the same skill sets, for them to have an edge over the others. It’s not easy to be a contrarian, because you need the courage of your convictions . It’s not easy to do something which other people dissuade you from doing , because they think you are barking up the wrong tree ! Most contrarians have a hard time because the crowd will give you hundreds of reasons as to why what you're doing is wrong. The crowd does not like to see the success of people who think differently from the way they do. This is disquieting and upsets their preconceived notions. They’d rather believe that the conventional wisdom is correct . Anyone who takes a contrarian approach is actually a threat to them , and this is why they will follow the Indian crab mentality of trying to pull everyone down to their level.

However, if you have done your homework well, can stick to your convictions ; and are confident of your strengths , there is really no reason for you to follow the beaten path. You are actually much more likely to be better off marching to the beat of your own drum. Just being a contrarian is obviously no guarantee for success. There’s very little point in`ng the opposite of what everyone else is doing simply because you want to be different and want to stand out. However, your chances of success are going to be much more your if you take this approach, provided you know  your strengths and play to them. You need to know in which areas you are expert enough to be a contrarian about - and then focus on these core skills and strengths, in order to succeed !

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