Chasing Downhill

On reminiscing why Apple went after the iPad instead of what some industry watchers thought was “the future” in low-priced and under powered netbooks, Phil Schiller commented “Even if the market was going there, we weren’t going to chase everybody downhill”

by Pete Ferguson

As a kid I can remember many times saying “but everybody else is doing it” to my parents to try and sway them to let me do the same.

I’m sure we’ve all heard at least once in our lives the common response “if everybody was jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?”

Individuality is a key to an enjoyable life. Unfortunately in many of today’s assembly-line or cubicle dwelling jobs in Corporate America, individuality isn’t always cherished and standardized tests move schools towards teaching us how to sit still and follow the pack.

Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.  ~ Seth Godin

Running down the hill with the pack – even if you are in first place – doesn’t mean you are headed for personal excellence. It just means you are winning the race to mediocrity.

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”  ~ Michelangelo

The lesson I continue to preach – and work even harder to follow – is the importance of developing your individuality. The world already has had a Bill Gates, a Yo Yo Ma, a Steve Jobs, Picasso, Michelangelo, Amelia Earhart, or  Abe Lincoln.

What the world, your community, your family, and you need most is – YOU.

And all of the resources needed to develop your greatest asset are between your two ears.

What comes easy to you is what is your greatest worth. It is also what we take most advantage of because it is so easy to do – we do not find worth in it because it is in abundance.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say: Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don’t chase others downhill – go and find your own mountain and climb it!

Excerpt: Go ahead – astonish me,  Dan Miller —  May 2, 2012

“The story is told that one day the great artist, Picasso, was walking in the market.  A woman approached him, handed him a pencil and piece of paper, and asked, “Can you do a little drawing for me.”   Picasso replied, “Absolutely.”  He did a quick little drawing and handed it back to the lady.  She looked at it and said – “That’s amazing.” After thanking him she started to walk away.  Picasso stopped her and said “Excuse me, that’ll be $1 million.”  She said, “One million dollars – that took you 30 seconds.”  To which Picasso replied, “My dear lady, it took me 30 years to do that.”


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