Why Normal Doesn't Move Mountains.
I grew up having it drilled into me that I wasn’t normal. In public school, the principal suggested I forget furthering my academic education and learn small engine repair. Maybe he felt guilty afterwards. He decided to let me join the final school dance committee. There was no money. Nobody had any ideas. So I went home and wrote to all the soft drink companies. I did the same with the grocery stores. Four days later, ten cases of soft drinks were delivered to my house, twenty packages of hot dogs and the equivalent number of buns. I also supplied the band (playing rhythm guitar).
In high school, I had one of the lowest CAAT scores. After graduation, with no hope of getting into a university, I took a year off, worked in factories, then became an assistant manager at a shoe store. When the manager left at five o’clock, I brought out a stereo, turned up the music (disco), and told my staff to have fun. We had the best three-month sales figures of our franchise.
Why am I telling you this? Because, in each instance, nobody ever recognized my non-standardized thinking. The principal — who told my parents I should learn small engine repair — never sent them a note saying: “Your kid made our graduation dance.” The shoe store never sent a message to the other franchisees, saying: “Whatever that kid’s doing, do the same.”
Every day, we see notices of promotion, people getting press, people getting recognized. More often than not, they get it for being “normal.” The only time we perk up to the “abnormal” is when someone like Richard Branson tell us he’s always followed “the opposite path.”
We admire Richard Branson. He’s done amazing things. Yet how many of us ever try following in his footsteps, taking that “oppo