There’s a famous quote that’s attributed to Henry Ford. The quote says, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
There’s no proof that Henry Ford actually said this. But whether or not that quote is historically accurate, the point remains. If Elon Musk had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a car with better gas mileage.
But Elon never bothered asking. Because he knows you cannot change history from the middle of the bell curve. And he knows that design by consensus, by definition, leads to average results.
He may ask for input on the details. But he will never ask the crowd to guide his vision.
True innovation comes from vision. We see this in technology. We see this an art, music, writing. But often, we fail to see this in ourselves. We allow the crowd to dictate who we are: what our dreams are, what our goals are, what our fears are. We crowdsource our vision and live a life of “should.”
Authenticity is the art of not giving a sh*t about should.
This sounds fine on the surface, when we’re pontificating about our lives. But it’s much scarier in the real world, when you face the reality that people will judge you. They will criticize you. They will tell you that you’re wrong.
The more you try to step away from should, the more shoulds they throw at you. You should be married. You should have kids. You should have a job.
The thing is, they may be talking about you, but it’s not really about you. Your decisions are triggering to them, and they’re reacting to that.
Authenticity means accepting that if other people get triggered, that’s not your responsibility. You may be the catalyst, but you’re not responsible for their emotions.
And in that regard, authenticity is also the art of setting boundaries.
That doesn’t mean you exclude people from your life. But it does mean that you set healthy emotional boundaries, such that their thoughts and feelings do not become internalized as your own.
This is a snippet from a speech I delivered at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon last week.
I’m sharing the speech for this July 2018 First Friday bonus episode.
We broadcast one podcast episode per week, and on the first Friday of each month, we roll out a special bonus episode.
Today’s episode is July’s special bonus episode, and I’ve divided it into two sections: during the first half, I share the speech that I delivered, and during the second half, I discuss how and why I wrote this speech — and the key takeaway that I hope people learn from it.
Photo Credit: Chris Guillebeau’s WDS 2018 album
- How to Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World, with Chris Guillebeau – Podcast interview
- Afford Anything workshops at the 2017 World Domination Summit – a three-part series: episodes 87, 89, and 91
- Paula’s speech at FinCon Masters – Spring 2017 (on YouTube)
- Paula’s speech at FinCon Big Ideas – Fall 2017 (on YouTube)
- @paulapant – Instagram
- How to Start a Blog in 5 Minutes with Bluehost
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