“I don’t like to do the odd man out” said my nephew trying to convey something. On probing further he explained “odd people are great people; didn’t you see ‘Taare Zamin par’?, he questioned putting me on a track that derailed the teaching machine in me. On second thought I agreed with him. In this world of competition when few people appreciate what is good and appreciable in others we all endeavor to fit into that frame which is generally appreciated or liked. Parents force children to score high marks so that the admission to the professional course becomes easy. But by aping we forget the fact that originality is the easiest way to success.
But to think differently is something that is difficult. It is difficult not because we as individual are not capable of innovation, but our case is more like an earthen pot that is cast in a particular way and then toughened to remain in that shape. With our schooling we learn to read write and think in a particular way. The capacity of a particular profession to earn fast buck makes us think that this is the best thing to learn. We all fall in line and behave like robots with our single aim in life, the capacity to make money. A person is said to be successful if he has the ability to earn money in way that involves less time, less work and above all, is approved by the society. If we look back at the history most of the successful people were the ones who thought differently. In the annals of history the person who thought differently always had to bear the brunt of public ridicule, apathy and the setting was always not at all favorable to the new idea. Take any new idea you will find that it is always opposed and many a times ridiculed. We are expected to enact certain script, it may be written by family, society or even self.
We always hear people saying “this is not the way we Indians behave” or “this has never happened in our family” and also “I don’t do it like this”. So the barriers in the path innovations are huge and complex. The success of a new idea depends on the originator of the idea. He should protect it from being booed out as weird or impossible even before he tries it out. The conviction in the idea should be absolute. The fun is if you conduct a survey, a majority votes in favor of innovation but when it comes to accepting the new ideas it is the majority that opposes it. This is so because individuality is a harmless trait possessed by one’s self. The same trait in others is downright absurdity. Edison, Galileo, Newton, and almost all the great people thought differently. Their behavior was considered abnormal in their respective times but today the progeny is grateful to them that they thought differently. When the entire world was fighting the world war two Gandhiji thought differently and won freedom for India without any war. Now is the need for the world to think differently. So next time you tell your child “that is not the way they do it” remember you have killed some original idea.