July 16, 2019

Want Change? Be Unreasonable (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a three part series of job search and career transition articles. Part two and part three are also online.

If we want to create something new in our lives – a new career, a new relationship, a new firm, whatever – then we can’t be reasonable about it. That’s a tough idea to swallow for people who make their living being eminently reasonable.

We can agree that George Bernard Shaw was a reasonable man, right? But listen to what he said about this:

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.

From Maxims for Revolutionaries.

“All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Why? Because reason can only look backward. It makes sense of what is and what has been. The trouble is, new, by definition, is what hasn’t yet been. Therefore reason doesn’t know about it, doesn’t understand it, can’t trust it.

Reason is all about precedent. It can only project and extrapolate. It looks at where we are now and how we got here, then projects its conclusions into the future, reverse engineering what happened in the past so we can do more of it in the future.

We call people who think like that realists – reasonable people – and credit them with being more in touch with reality than daydreamers and visionaries. We trust them not to lead us astray.

But what if we want to be and do something we haven’t yet been and done? What if we’re inspired to do something new?

Inspiration isn’t at all reasonable. It wants idealists, not realists. It wants people who are consumed with an idea about what could be, not what is. People like that don’t give a rip about reverse engineering. Instead, they buy what Einstein said about imagination being more powerful than knowledge. They’re willing to push boundaries, believe what’s considered irrational, illogical, impossible, even irreverent and heretical.

Inspiration wants response, not reason. It hooks our hearts, then reels us in. Want change? First get hooked by an inspired idea. Then get unreasonable.

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He has led two workshops for the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His next one, scheduled for January 2012, is called Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It!
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