The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
– 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 are 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. They strive to make the world around them a better place. Do you fit into this description?
“We should do something when people say it is crazy. If people say something is ‘good’, it means someone else is already doing it.”
– Hajime Mitarai (The Circle of Innovation by Tom Peters)
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, rule the world.
How unreasonable are you? 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.
Will you tap the resources within you and put them to practical use?
*See Romans 12:2
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