The risk of sticking to the conventional

To do the conventional is thought of as being safe – to take the path well travelled, to be practical, to make one’s parents happy, to secure the graduation that will guarantee a job.

But what is the price paid here? Something is conventional because millions of other people consider it to be the safe thing to do. Every opportunity that knocks on our door also knocks on these million doors. This can pretty soon translate to a race to the bottom, with the paltry spoils going to the lowest bidder.

To be unconventional is to see a different opportunity – one that the crowd isn’t vying for. It is to notice an opportunity outside the limelight. To avoid the crowds and occupy a niche. To shun the best-sellers and the top of the charts for a genre of music that about 1000 fans follow in your city, and to serve those 1000 people in a manner that nobody else in the world does today. The caveat is that there is no map to tell us how we do that.

To do the unconventional is to explore remote reaches and create new maps. Every opportunity outside the conventional is like venturing to an unexplored corner of the planet. Sure, the hearts of African jungles, depths of the poles and the tops of the highest mountains have been explored. But every day, we are creating new worlds with science, art, technology and at the intersections of every discipline on the planet.

“Let’s go exploring!”

2 thoughts on “The risk of sticking to the conventional

  1. Are there any unconventional things that you have done that worked out?

    Personally, one that I can think of is staying out of social media since the beginning of 2013 (been 5 years!).

    At that point in time, everyone was on social media (Facebook, Twitter mostly) and my friends thought I was crazy because every single one of them was on Facebook. For me it had no appeal at all, and at that point in time, I think quitting was an unconventional thing to do. Now people recognize the damage social media is doing and I can say I am completely unhooked.

    Another unconventional thing – at least amongst the people we went to college with, was to stay at home with my parents from 2012 up until 2017. In many ways, staying with them gave me emotional comfort and a structure to my life (going to bed early, exercising, good food) which might not have been possible if I had stayed away.


    1. Haha, I for one thought you were crazy, back in 2013. And last month, I deleted my Facebook account, so that was some great foresight on your part.

      Something unconventional I am trying is The Total Immersion method to swimming. In traditional swimming methods, the emphasis is on strength building, whereas with Total Immersion, it is almost entirely streamlining. The ride has been great so far.


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