– George Bernard Shaw, renowned playwright.
The very first time I came across the above quote, I couldn’t get my head round it; it seemed too complex to comprehend. I only got the drift after scratching my head over it. What’s more, the reading of the book The Power of Unreasonable People by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan (it’s all about how social entrepreneurs create markets that change the world) has enabled me to develop the perspective I am about to share with you. Enjoy your read!
To be unreasonable is to think change, or better still transformation; not conformity. It is all about thinking outside the box; challenging the status quo; daring to be different and breathing new life into the world around you.
Unreasonable people make the world around them a better place. They are world-shaping change agents; they are dreamers, can-do thinkers, risk-takers, innovators, solution-providers, difference-makers and high achievers. Their endeavours are transformative with the power to catalyze and shape the future. Do you fit into this description?
On the other hand, reasonable people are conformists, comfort-seekers and crowd-followers. They are complacent people, trying to accommodate themselves to the status quo. Hence, like the proverbial snake that moves on a rock without leaving a trace, they leave the world without making an impact.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to live and leave without making a significant difference in the world. He did not create us just to increase the world’s population!
Let me juxtapose the quote with what the Scriptures says: “And be not conformed to this world (the reasonable man adapts himself to the world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may PROVE what is that GOOD and ACCEPTABLE and PERFECT will of God (the unreasonable one persists in adapting the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man).
Being unreasonable is a state of mind; it starts from the mind. Archimedes, the Greek mathematician, said: “Give me a base of support and I will move the world.” I think there is no better base of support than the mind. With it, you and I can definitely move the world. To think is to create.
You can’t make a difference, if you can’t think differently! Imitation, for want of a better word, is suicide. It kills the real you; it buries your potential. Until you are transformed by the renewing of your mind, you can’t transform the world. Nurture your mind with positive thoughts and generate ideas. Ideas, they say, rules the world.
How reasonable can you get? Think about what you can do, in your own little way, to make the world around you a better place. There is something each one of us can do better than anyone else. “Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Walter Russell said: “What menial task I have to do, I will make an art of it.” He also said: “Mediocrity is self-inflicted, genius is self-imposed. I believe every man has consummate genius within him.” This man had to leave school before he was ten years of age, but he excelled in each of the five arts, music, painting, literature, sculpture and architecture, and made notable contributions to science and politics. He said he was not specially gifted, but he believed all things are possible when we tap the resources within ourselves and put them to practical use.
Blessed are the unreasonable for they make the world a better place.
Stand.Out.And.Reign! is our unique way of telling you to SOAR.
- See Romans 12: 2
He was left penniless after enrolling on a HND course in aerospace engineering at Solihull College,Birmingham. Things were tight for him. He needed a job badly.
He said: “I woke up and was meant to get the train to university in Coventry for an activity involving stripping down a helicopter gearbox.
“But when I got to the station I realised I didn’t even have the money for the train ticket. I just thought, ‘I can’t go on like this’.”
He is less than halfway through his two-year HND at Solihull. But he wanted to get a full-time job with a view to returning to education in the future.
He probably had searched for jobs the same way his friends were doing it, without success. But he was so determined and desperate.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
He thought outside the box and came up with a completely different strategy to get what he wanted. ‘‘I’ve got no money, so had to do something,” he said. He thought differently and then acted differently. He dared to be different. He went the extra mile.
Creativity, determination and persistence were at work.
He decided to stage a placard-waving hunt for work, advertising his availability for work on the streets.
Motorists were given a Valentine’s Day surprise as he took his search for employment onto the streets.
His placard did not read “I don’t have a job”. No! He was positive in his approach. “Please, give me a job” was what he wrote on his board with a smiley face drawn on the top-right corner for extra effect.
“Advertising myself in this way is something I am just experimenting with at the moment.
“It’s another alternative because although you can do a lot of job applications on the internet, it doesn’t ever seem to get people anywhere.”
The 20-year old Hugh Chadwick stood at a busy road junction in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, for days on end in the hope he would attract potential employers.
Not a few people would have mocked his idea of carrying placards around to advertise his dire need for a job. His story spread online and offline. Many were sympathetic with him. He was swamped with messages of support. He said:
“Several people beeped at me as they drove past and gave me the thumbs-up. One guy even gave me a fiver and told me to get a drink!
“Some people emailed me saying they really admired my efforts and others suggested companies to get in touch with
“But I got a job offer from Rotech [renowned engineering company] and went to see them… it went really well. They offered me a job as a mechanical testing technician…”
“I want a job because I know that I would make a valuable contribution and always work to the best of my ability,” he said.
For hard-up Hugh it was a dream come true when the offer came through from Rotech Laboratories.
At last, his creative and persistent efforts paid off!
“Ours is a country that puts too much emphasis on paper qualification, and it is bad enough, to put it mildly, that today we have many certificated graduates who are said to be intellectually challenged, half-baked and unemployable. I think it is high time we disabused ourselves of the notion of “go to school, get good grades and you will secure a good job.”
A cursory look at the above heading could easily provoke an average Arsenal fan, who might well instantly launch into a hot argument: “Femi, are you sick in the head? Who told you Arsenal is being relegated? That’s arrant nonsense! You…” So, let me quickly make myself clear before any Arsenal enthusiast begin to take issue with me for daring to run down Arsenal. I understand these are not the best of times for the “Gunners”. And I don’t want to be seen as gloating over it.
Now, I would like to clarify here that the use of “arsenal” in this piece does not refer to Arsenal Football Club. Far from it! Let me sound this caveat emptor of sorts: “This piece is strictly for people who desire to become real standouts in life, actively involved in making this world a better place.” The arsenal I am talking about here is the intellectual arsenal which the Maker gifted you and I.
First and foremost, let us consider these operative words, “intellectual” and “arsenal”. The word, intellectual, is derived from “intellect”, which means “a faculty of reasoning, knowing and thinking”. “Arsenal” is used to describe a store or collection of weapons.
Put together, intellectual arsenal is what I call the storehouse of our intellect. You can call it the mind – you are right; it is the centre of intellectual activity. Our intellectual arsenal is our greatest asset. It is more powerful than nuclear weapons or Alfred Nobel’s dynamite. Without it, we are reduced to mere animals crawling around on all fours. The use of intellectual arsenal is the propelling force behind all inventions, discoveries and great achievements that we see around us today. Suffice to say that the most powerful weapon on earth is the human mind – our intellectual arsenal!
Sad to say, today not a few people are relegating their intellectual arsenal to the background. The situation is worse than what it was when Prof. William James of Harvard University said that compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our mental resources.
Ironically, our education system, which is supposed to promote the effective use of our intellectual arsenal, has largely discouraged a lot of Nigerian students from pursuing this noble feat of mental excellence; hence, the disuse and depreciation of this priceless treasure. This has, in no small measure, posed a great danger to our society as sustainable development is eluding us. If only we can take a cue from developed countries by creating an enabling environment and value systems that encourage proper use of the human mind for our national development.
Ours is a country that put too much emphasis on paper qualification, and it is bad enough, to put it mildly, that today we have many certificated graduates who are said to be intellectually challenged, half-baked and unemployable. I think it is high time we disabused ourselves of the notion of “go to school, get good grades and you will secure a good job”. In a society where too much emphasis is being placed on “upper class” or “second class upper”, as the case may be, as a prerequisite for employment, many students strive to get it by hook or by crook. And in their desperate bid to acquire this “essential commodity”, as it were, in their credentials, many end up relegating their intellectual potential to the dustbin of irrelevance.
Tragic it is that education for certification is increasingly becoming the order of the day in our society. Many students are only interested in getting the paper that stands as a marked testimony that they are educated just to secure a job, ignoring their mental or intellectual development. Is it not true that education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of one’s self? We are only educated when we know how to make a tool of every faculty – how to open it, how to keep it sharp, and how to apply it to all practical purposes. The faculty of reasoning, knowing and thinking is too precious a possession to be left dormant or in abeyance. Whoever said the mind is a terrible thing to waste said it well! The reason is not far-fetched: the power we need for a productive life is in the storehouse of our own mind. Never underestimate your mind power.
The pursuit of knowledge is crucial to a healthy mind, and we must be in a constant state of learning to achieve lasting success. As we become involved in continuing education – not just schooling – we increase our knowledge base, broaden our intellectual horizon and increase our options in life. Contrary to the long-imposed view, our economic security does not lie in a job; it lies in our own power to produce – to think, to learn, to adapt. That’s intellectual arsenal! The power of the brain is where the power of a man or woman lies. Formal education may earn one a living, it is self-education – self-development – that will make one a fortune.
In the words of Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer and physicist, I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use. They are given to us for us to use for the betterment of our world. There is no limit to what we can achieve with our intellectual arsenal.
Olakunle Soriyan is one individual who has made – and is still making – the most of his intellectual arsenal. Despite the fact that he left the university with a Third class, after spending more than ten years in school – today he is a philosopher, trainer, consultant of high pedigree, a personal Advisor and coach to many high net worth individuals and organizations, promoting originality as a critical pathway to purposefulness. He is an acclaimed inventor with numerous products and services in the kitty. He is the Principal Transformation Strategist of the Olakunle Soriyan Company. It was in 2009 that I got to know him when came to UNAD for his Zero to Hero initiative. Last Saturday, I had the fortune of listening to him at the Career Fair organised by Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo of David Christian Centre. I hope to share with you my note later.
Epictetus, the Greek philosopher was right when he said only the educated are free. Thomas Jefferson, the immortal author of the American Declaration of Independence, painted a clearer picture when he said only an informed people can really be free. In this modern world, information is the commodity of kings. Those with the information and the means to communicate it have what the king used to have – unlimited power. As John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, “money is what fueled the industrial society. But in the informational society, the fuel, the power is knowledge.”
To make our lives sublime; to stand out in a world that is trying to make us mediocre, we must make the most of our intellectual arsenal. I like to call it the weapon of massive delivery. With it, you and I can deliver the future. So let’s stop relegating it, and release its full potential for our benefit, and for the betterment of our world.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce Stand.Out.And.Reign! as it bestrides the blogosphere today. It is an initiative that aims to “inspire you and me to SOAR”.
An aside: Today is very remarkable because it is International Scouts’ Day, and World Thinking Day as chosen by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts as it was the birthday of Scouting and Guiding founders Robert Baden-Powell and Olave Baden-Powell.
Did you know that the human mind is the most powerful element in the known universe?
Scientific studies have shown that the human mind is capable of limitless possibilities.
No other element can influence reality and destiny as much as the human mind can.
Just think about any technological marvel that seemed impossible a mere 50 years ago.
Everything you’ve ever known and experienced has been the product of the human brain.
And while most of your conscious experiences make up most of your memories, the reason you are where you are right now is also determined by the power of your mind.
We invite you most heartily as we set off on a journey to explore the full potential of our most powerful resource – the mind; enrich it and excel with it.
“Be Prepared,” as the motto of Scouting goes.
Join the Journey!