The old adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ reverberates in my mind when I think of what to do now that I am jobless and facing a possible career change.
until recently I had thought that simply going to work and getting a job would fulfill all the needs that I would ever have. I did just that and ended up in a career that was….mmhh well…somewhat fulfilling but the steady income it afforded made me lazy to seek more.
So of course you can imagine my shock when I managed to lose my career for reasons that I am quite embarrassed to talk about (still coming to terms with and might even work into stating the reasons in a future blog) and joined the millions of jobless Americans.
It was during this time that it dawned on me that up to now I was simply existing in the mediocre realm of life that let me simply exist in what was considered normal. Up until the moment when I lost my career, I had constantly stated how I would have loved to write, play guitar (I have one but never played a lick) but lacked the gumption to go ahead and play it.
So of course I was faced with the urgent need to do something different that didn’t necessary pander to what was normal to society. The desire to be innovative (not to be confused with inventive) in the direction that I would steer my life towards is key now.
Mediocrity is something that is so akin to our everyday existence in order to fit into the status quo. To be accepted as normal. I find that more and more that we are constantly fighting the battle between being normal and doing that which is unusual, not normal. All my life I have worked to be ‘normal’. To work the normal job, to dress normal. To speak normal. Yet after all that, I am left dissatisfied. I remember watching a video of Les Brown a motivational speaker he was saying that when he told his mom that he wanted to be a Radio DJ, his mom asked him why he would want to give up his great job at Sears.
Now all work is valuable but I think in the quest to be normal, more and more we are losing that which makes us so different. The fear to do what is is not the norm drives a lot of us. In losing my job, I could feel the urgency of doing that which I truly love (writing) before I got caught up doing the mediocre..the normal. I am a little luckier than most because I had been very conservative with my finances and have the additional luck to have a working spouse who supports me in my pursuits, so I am able to indulge in reflection and pursue what might hopefully be my passion but I can’t help but wonder why there are so few people being innovative or inventing new things. I read a great article that outlined the process of innovation and how it has led to evolution and creation of products but a quote from this article really resonated with me and it is from Walter Bagehot a Physicist who said that:
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. It…makes you think that after all, your favorite notions may be wrong, your firmest beliefs ill-founded… Naturally, therefore, common men hate a new idea, and are disposed more or less to ill-treat the original man who brings it.
Are we so caught up being mediocre that we dare not risk doing something different. Why are there so few innovators and inventions out there today? Why do we have an abundance of critics but sorely lack in innovations and inventions? How does one overcome the debilitating fear to do that which is not mediocre?