“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Apple’s “Think Different” commercial , 1997
These words come from an enormously popular and inspiring Apple commercial. It gives me chills each time I watch it. While the words above are read, images of visionaries and world changers like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Einstein, John Lennon, and Picasso are flashed across the screen.
The genius of this commercial was that the rebels and misfits really had little to do with each other or with Apple. Their one common theme was that they all thought differently than the status quo in their fields of music, art, politics, science, or business.
During the early 1980s Steve Jobs and his partner Stephen Wozniak revolutionized the desktop computer world with their Apple I and II computers. Later during a time away from Apple, Jobs co-founded Pixar Animation studios, which revolutionized the animation business. Pixar has produced the Toy Story series, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Cars, Wall-E, and other award-winning films. Back at Apple, Jobs and his team changed the computing (iMac), music (iPod & iTunes), mobile telephones (iPhone), and print media industries (iPad). Even after Job’s death, Apple may change another industry with smart-watches (iWatch).
Along with all of this, Apple is now (as of 4/15/2015) the most valuable company in the world, and it is a model for innovation and forward thinking in business. That’s a pretty powerful argument for their “Think Different” mantra.
Thinking and acting differently are not easy. Going along with the herd appears to be so safe. But, positive growth as a person or as a society rarely happens getting stuck in outdated or group thinking. New circumstances and new realities require you to adapt old wisdom and best practices using your creativity, imagination, and willingness to experiment.
Here are some questions that will challenge and grow your “think different” muscles:
- What parts of your life and business are very much in line with the status quo?
- Are you doing something in a certain way because it’s safe and comfortable?
- Have you questioned or tested your own beliefs and philosophies lately?
- What would your life and business be like if you changed some of your thinking?
- Who are people that have changed their own thinking and who could be role models for you?
The valuable lesson I get from people like Steve Jobs is to never stop challenging myself to think differently. Be skeptical when people say “it can’t be done” or “this is how it’s always been done.” Gain courage from the rebels and misfits who came before me. Rather than always playing it safe until the day I die, determine to make my own life and mind dynamic, full of growth, and interesting until my very last moment.
So, back to you. What were your life and business experiences like when you had an attitude of “think different?” Have any turned out well? Have others not worked out? What rebels, misfits, and troublemakers have inspired you? How has your life been different (or could it be different) from their example? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
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