Why the majority is always wrong | Paul Rulkens | TEDxMaastricht

Why the majority is always wrong | Paul Rulkens | TEDxMaastricht

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00:00
[Music] in 1942 albert einstein was teaching at oxford university and one day he just gave an exam of physics to his senior class of physics students and he was walking on the campus with his assistant and all of a sudden the assistant looked at albert einstein said dr einstein this exam which you just gave to the senior class of physics students isn't that exactly the same exam you
00:33
gave to exactly the same class one year ago yeah yeah yes the double blind child is exactly the same but dr einstein how could you possibly do that the assistant said well sid einstein the answers have changed the answers have changed in other words what is true for 1942 is even more true for today we live in a world where the questions might be the same but the answers have changed in other words what has got you here will no longer get you there and if you
01:11
want to have results that you've never had before well you need to start doing things you've never done before now the key question for today is of course is there a method to the madness is there a way that each of us can do impossible things to truly create dramatic results and good news is that the answer to that question is yes because what i'm going to explain today is when it comes to high performance why the majority is always wrong
01:42
and how you can use that to get everything you can out of everything you've got but let me first introduce you to something interesting an interesting observation when people teams and organizations whenever they hit a wall they tend to do one of two things they either do more of the same things or they do less of the same things but what you very seldom see is that they start to do different things instead and it's interesting if you look at the
02:12
data approximately three percent of people are inclined to even do different things and the remaining 97 percent continues to smash into the wall like some kind of crazy energy bunny on steroids and why is that why is that and to understand what's going on here we need to ask ourselves another question and the question we need to ask ourselves is what is the purpose of thinking what is the purpose of thinking now if you ask that question to a brain scientist the brain scientist
02:44
will say well the purpose of thinking is to stop thinking the purpose of thinking is to stop thinking now what does she mean by that well here's the thing thinking is a high energy activity it takes a lot of energy to think so whenever we think we try to think as short as possible and then we return to automatic pilot over 95 percent of our life we run on automatic pilot for example if you ever driven a car and then you realize whoa what did i do in the past half an hour
03:16
that's your brain on automatic pilot another example many of you right now are listening to me on automatic pilot and i know who you are now here's the thing if your brain is an automatic pilot this leads to what scientists call mental myopia also known as tunnel vision and if you have tunnel vision that's a bit of a problem because it confuses people about their own performance and this is the reason that many people go through life
03:54
acting like a mediocre race car driver who sits in his car looks in his rear view mirror sees his competition and is so far behind that they think they are first in other words ladies and gentlemen we tend to think inside the box and the box is a very good metaphor here so let me draw a box and if you take a close look at the box you see that the boundaries of this box are very well defined so we think inside defined boundaries i'll give an example one boundary
04:32
is a legal boundary and we think within the legal framework i'll give you an example a very few of you would think of stealing the wallet of the person next to you in order to fund your next cool startup yeah at least that's what i hope so we think in legal boundaries but there are other boundaries as well we think in technological boundaries we think in physical boundaries but we also think in moral boundaries and this is why we think
05:02
inside the box at least that's what we think because the reality is that the box in which we think looks more like this now for those of you in the back who cannot see it the reason is this is a very small box and let me illustrate how small this box can be for example if i would say tonight let's have something to eat have dinner tonight what would be options to do that and probably you cannot come up with hey let's buy some pizza go to restaurant
05:38
cook at home all kinds of cool ideas but i believe that very few of you would raise their hand and say hey let's go to the highway close by see if we can pick up some dead animals on the side of the road and prepare ourselves a crispy dinner that's a disturbant thought but here's the funny thing for many people in the world this would be a perfectly normal response nothing wrong with that so what it shows is that the box in which we think is actually very very small and if you take a look if you take a closer
06:16
look at your industry or professional field you also think inside a very small box and boundaries of this box they are called industry standards or industry norms for example if you are in the restaurant business then the industry standard is that people come to your establishment they eat and then they pay that's the standard that's how everyone is doing it another example if you're on the banking business this norm is that people give you money
06:47
you say thank you very much and you give the money to someone else i mean that's banking so those are standards those are norms in the industry or professional field but this is what you need to know the word norm is an abbreviation for normal in other words if you do what everyone else is doing you get results that everyone else is getting and those are normal results and the thing is what we are after today are extraordinary results
07:19
so the key question is of course how can you kick yourself out the box out this very small box of your industry and professional field and move to the happy place where cool innovation happens how can you do that now let me introduce you the curious case of the london taxi drivers if you want to become a taxi driver in london you need to know the entire city by heart and this is called the knowledge and you can imagine it takes years to get the knowledge in your head
07:50
and that's a bit of a problem if you want to rapidly expand your taxi business so they ask themselves a question how can we rapidly expand our taxi business while at the same time employing taxi drivers who do not know anything about the city of london and then they came up with a very ingenious solution what he said is well actually then we make two kind of tracksies one is a normal taxi and the other taxi has a big sign on it which says the driver of this vehicle does not know
08:21
anything about the city of london but loves to get directions from you and that's a brilliant solution because this attracted those people who lived in london knew the city very well and finally finally finally could pay boss in a taxi yeah brilliant now ladies and gentlemen this sounds like a very cute story but there's much more than meets the eye because what we have found is that breakthrough innovation
08:56
extraordinary results happen when people decide to finally break the standards or the norms in their industry or professional field and you see that over and over again for example if you would have a furniture business and one day you would decide to no longer assemble furniture for your customers probably you would end up with a company called ikea yeah another example if you own a computer business and one day you would decide to no longer sell your computer using a
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physical store probably you would end up with a company called dell computers yeah so ladies and gentlemen what it tells us there is a method to the madness and by understanding that majority is always wrong when it comes to high performance finally you have the opportunity to quit fixing things and move to massive innovation instead ladies and gentlemen the roman emperor
10:02
marcus aurelius once said that the object of life is not to side with the majority but the object of life is to escape finding oneself joining the ranks of the clinically insane if you do what everyone else is doing you're not distinguishing yourself and you're probably stuck and this is why when it comes to high performance the majority is always wrong this is what we know we know that three percent of people
10:35
are able to achieve extraordinary results and each of you can become part of those three percent by deciding as of today to break your industry standards and to break your industry norms the alternative of course is that you become part of the 97 percent who in the end works for those three percent and as of today that choice is completely yours
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thank you very much [Music] you

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