Published in El Pais, 6 October 2018.
Albert Einstein once said: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Applying this definition to the world population I fear the worst. As an economist I often hear things like: “I have been working hard all my life, and still I barely have enough money to support my family”, “Every day when I drive to work, I get stuck in traffic.” or maybe very recognizable: “This is the third time we are trying this and it still goes went wrong”. Human beings are habit creatures, we do not like change too much, but at the same time we expect things to miraculously get better despite the fact we haven’t made any changes to the basic variables.
The reason behind all this is that the people’s thinking is trapped inside a box. For sure you have heard the term “Think outside the box”. For those of you who do not know this metaphor, means that we are constantly submitted by limitations. Limitations given to us by our parents, school, government, people, technology, environment etc. However, only very few of these limitations are real. It is us who decide which ones to ignore or move. Nevertheless only a few people are capable to jump out of their box and ignore the limitations without fear of what might happen or what other people think.
The obvious thing is that if we want to solve a problem, start a business, innovate a product etc we have to change the way we do things.
It always strikes me how many people complain about their job, their boss, the low salary, the bad working hours, the lousy colleagues, the traffic, their doctor, the government, the mayor, the shop around the corner etc. But obviously in the end the cost of changing, complaining or voting different is too scary for most people that they prefer to keep on suffering. Since it might go wrong. Even many proverbs even make us believe us that we shouldn’t change. Never change a winning horse, be happy you have a job, home sweet home, etc. Of course I am not pushing you guys to turn into a bunch of hippies or nomads, but still I think you get the point.
So if life is not treating you fair, try something new. Let the curiosity take over. Do something that nobody expects from you and ignore their rusty wisdom to contain you in your box. Annoy them, and become successful.