Monthly Archives: February 2014

Conventional Wisdom?

Is it possible to get somewhere if you have no earthly idea HOW to get there?

When I was a teenager, my father used to harass me to read a book called “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You’ll Probably End Up Somewhere Else.” It sat on my nightstand for three years. I never read it.

Conventional wisdom would probably bear out that interesting book title.

Makes sense to me!

However, a few weeks ago I was headed to Milford, Connecticut with my family to go meet my newborn niece, Grayson. I knew how to get where I was going, but traffic was backed up and I needed to re-route. So, for the first time ever, I entered the address into my GPS. “Prepare to turn right in 500 feet,” she told me.

Minutes later, a little voice came from my back seat. “Daddy, where are we?”

“I don’t know baby, we’re going a new way.”

I had zero idea where I was at that point, and it occurred to me that I wasn’t in any way nervous about it. The GPS had control, and I’ve grown so accustomed to using it that I just follow along with 100% trust and certainty that it will take me where I want to go. So much so, that I seldom even pay attention to where I’m actually driving. I couldn’t take that route again (by heart) if my life depended on it.

So much for conventional wisdom.

Maybe a new book title would be, “As Long as You Know WHERE You Want to Go, You Don’t Have to Know HOW.” Its relatively simple to figure that part out.

Conventional wisdom told me to look in the dictionary for the definition of the term “conventional wisdom.” But I don’t look in dictionaries anymore (wink) so I Googled it. Here’s what Wikipedia said about it:

Conventional wisdom is not necessarily true. Conventional wisdom is additionally often seen as an obstacle to the acceptance of newly acquired information, to introducing new theories and explanations, and therefore operates as an obstacle that must be overcome by legitimate revisionism. This is to say, that despite new information to the contrary, conventional wisdom has a property analogous to inertia that opposes the introduction of contrary belief, sometimes to the point of absurd denial of the new information set by persons strongly holding an outdated (conventional) view. This inertia is due to conventional wisdom being made of ideas that are convenient, appealing and deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to them even as they grow outdated. This inertia can last even after the paradigm has shifted between competing conventional idea sets.


Now we’re getting somewhere! I feel like the Myth Busters!

So let’s assume that – in today’s new world – you don’t really have to know how to achieve your goal, as long as you have one. Does it stand to reason that if somebody else has already accomplished what you wish to accomplish that they might be able to tell you how to do it too? Image

This concept clearly has its limits. I can’t throw an un-hittable cut fastball just by asking Mariano Rivera how he did it. I can’t jockey a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Some goals clearly require a certain physical size or ability that we may not and cannot posses. But if Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss, can bake a perfect cake . . . hmmm. Can he show me how to do it? The actual baking process would be a snap. Just be coachable and follow his recipe precisely. That means, don’t change anything. Do it EXACTLY the way he does it.

The decorating part will take a lot of time and practice. But if Buddy is willing to teach you everything he knows, and you are willing to shadow him, follow his advice, and put in the time, eventually you can be a “cake boss” too.

So I guess this week’s not-so-conventional wisdom would to identify what you want to do in life; something that makes your heart sing. And then find somebody who already did it and do what they did.

“Please prepare to turn right in 500 feet.”

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m Glad I Drank the Kool-Aid!


Let the Buyer Beware!

If you had a talented 12-year-old son who had aspirations to play quarterback in the National Football League would you send him to Tommy Wyatt’s Championship Quarterback School or would you rather select John Elway’s Championship Quarterback School?

That was not a rhetorical question. There is a right and wrong answer.

First, let me clarify that both guys were championship quarterbacks.

Tommy Wyatt, for the 1989 Newtown Men’s League Champions.
John Elway, for the 1997 and 98 Denver Broncos Super Bowl Champions.

Both know a lot more than your 12-year-old about the quarterback position. Both are excellent teachers and communicators. And both would do a good job. But only one of the two aforementioned ex-quarterbacks is qualified to teach your son what it takes to play in the NFL. Only one. Hint . . . it’s not me! Image

As ridiculous as that whole scenario may sound, we’re seeing people (more than ever before) passing themselves off as “experts” in everything. Some are qualified. Most are not.

I always thought it odd while watching those late-night informercials years ago how these guys would come on and talk to you for 60 minutes trying to sell you their “Secrets to Success” packages for three easy payments of $199. My first though was always, “if they’re so rich and successful, then why would they take the time to get on this commercial and try to sell people the secrets?” Legitimate question.

Today, in this age of technology, EVERYBODY’S an expert on everything. Online you can be young even though you’re old. You can be skinny even though you’re really fat. You can be a woman when you’re a man. You can have a degree from Harvard even though you never made it out of high school. I mean, if it’s online it’s obviously true. Right?

Much of this “poser” behavior is harmless, but let’s chat about the posers that are trying to get into your wallet.

I’m talking about the “Success Coach” who has never been successful; The “Life Coach” with a lousy life; The “Abundance Coach” without a pot to piss in; The 350-pound “Health and Wellness Coach”; The “Network Marketing Guru” who never made money in network marketing; The “Internet Marketing Expert” who not only never made any money, but isn’t even going by his real name! And don’t get me started on people writing “How To” books on things that they never did!

“How to Become a Brain Surgeon in One Simple Step” – go to med school. There. That was easy.

I think you get the picture.

They are people who want to make their money by taking your money?I recently saw an online list of Top Worldwide Money Earners in network marketing.” There were at least ten names on that list of people who don’t even earn $100k a year and one (ranked really high up there) who could make more money working 20 hours a week at McDonald’s. Seriously.Some wise person once said, “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.” And that was before the internet!

My plea to the “entrepreneurs” who want to earn a living selling their advice as “experts” in anything . . . first go out there an DO IT yourself. Go out there and earn the right to be heard. Because if you’re trying to pass yourself off as something you’re not, that’s being a scammer. That’s taking advantage of somebody’s trusting and naive nature. It’s false advertising.

Like Tommy Wyatt the quarterback, you might be able to be helpful to the beginner. And if that’s your only goal – then state your credentials and make reasonable promises offering reasonable expectations.

On the other side of the coin, if you’re somebody who is looking for a coach or an “expert,” do your homework first. Don’t just read the testimonials on the person’s webpage. They probably wrote most of them themselves!

Call me crazy, but I want my financial advisor to have a track record. I want my doctor to actually be a doctor. I’d rather eat a meal prepared by a chef than the eccentric (and cold) concoctions my children whip up while playing chef.OK, rant over.

I have to go show some young scientists how to split the atom.

I’m Glad I Drank the Kool-Aid!

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