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Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results - Albert Einstein.
Albert Einstein, was once labelled too crazy for school. But yet he had a deep burning passion for Mathematics and Physics, something that was uncommon in his time.
For most of us, we begin our day by waking up to our smartphone's alarm clock, changing it to a different tone, and then making the same journey to work or school. Driving through the same route, taking the same subway, taking the same bus, having our meals at the same place, doing our hobby the same way. The process repeats until we there is some major change in our lives which are not initiated by ourselves, but by the organisation that we work for, some event that occurred in our family or school (like graduation which puts us in a position where we have to search for jobs) and other events that will cause major changes in to lifestyle. That being said, everything else will take on a more or less predictable route, except our vacations.
Human beings are creatures of habit and we find comfort in routines. We like predictability. We embrace social norms. Though we like changes, we tend not to detract far off from social norms. We like to have a sense of belonging. We like to belong to social groups. We may want to stand out by purchasing a slightly different gadget or clothes to feel special, but we do not frequently break the boundaries of routines or habits. Oddly, we want to belong to a group.
But yet, deep within, we yearn to be special. How do we marry the two extremes? Sticking to routines and social norms but yet wanting our life to turn into a fairy tale?
Don't get me wrong. Routines and norms provide a sense of comfort. In times of danger, for the benefit of survival, safety in numbers provides a temporary relief, a sense of support, of social belonging. However, the same desire for routines amd comfort can be paralysing. The entreprenuer seeks different ways to outdo his competitors. A slightly different approach may do him good and bring in more sales, but it will not take long before his competitors learn a thing or two. A student may take on his school work wearing a different thinking cap, by providing unexpected answers which are technically not incorrect.
A friend once told me of a young student who was told that he was wrong; When he was asked what is the answer of 1 + 1, the kid simply says it depends on what units you are adding, if it is a cat and mouse, the mouse would probably be gobbled up and 1 + 1 is still 1. However, academic rigour is rewarded in education, not creativity, not thinking out of the box. Creativity is a variable that is harder to be assigned a value, unless its worth is proven through its economic benefits. It is human to be habitual. It is a norm to do things in the shortest, most efficient manner. We are more concerned with paying our bills. We are creature of habit. Yet we wonder why our lives do not take on major special turns. Is it a wonder why our lives do not yield magnificient results?
Perhaps, it is about time for us to ask ourselves why we expect different results when we follow routines and stick to our 'normal' modes of thinking everyday.
Abraham A. L
Originally written on 3rd December 2015
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