Nido Qubein is an entrepreneur, business consultant, author and coveted public speaker. Besides his various accomplishments, one of Nido’s greatest skills is the ability to share what’s really important in life in a way that can be life-changing. In his latest book, Uncommon Sense, Nido shows us how to turn conventional wisdom upside down to discover “uncommon sense.”
Introduction from Uncommon Sense
by Nido R. Qubein
People tend to order their lives according to “conventional wisdom,” a generally accepted set of principles that may include centuries-old folk sayings or that may have arisen from contemporary experience. These sayings and beliefs have become so ingrained in the public mind that they are often referred to as “common sense.”
In both your business and your personal life, following conventional wisdom is usually the “safe” approach. But, the people who make a remarkable difference in the world are typically those who examine conventional wisdom with a critical eye, using “uncommon sense.”
Most people don’t question conventional wisdom. It’s just “the way things are.” Others see it as a handy starting place for examining their own values. Using uncommon sense, they often discover wisdom that is far from conventional.
Somewhere along the way, someone questioned conventional wisdom, examined it from all sides, developed new principles, and produced human progress.
Common sense told the medieval world that the Earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around it. Copernicus followed uncommon sense to a new understanding of the universe and our place in it.
Uncommon Sense is not aimed at turning conventional wisdom on its head or debunking the wisdom of the ages. It seeks, instead, to encourage a creative look at things often taken for granted, to provide fresh insights into old verities.
I have lived long enough to acknowledge the value of wisdom based on generations of experience. I have also lived long enough to know that those who follow conventional wisdom uncritically may end up in a rut that leads nowhere.
So when I hear someone quote an old saying that suggests it’s the wisdom of the ages, I start looking for footnotes and often find them with the nuggets of uncommon sense they contain. That sort of skeptical examination has served me well, and I recommend it to those who want to enjoy, discover, and achieve fulfillment in their lives.
The conventional explorer, in crossing a stream, may look at the stones rising from the water as islands of stability in the swirling current. And that they may be. But the creative explorer will stop and turn the stones over to determine whether priceless gems might lie beneath or what veins of gold might be incorporated in their mass.
Ancient adages are like those rocks in the stream, assuring the crosser that it’s safe to step here. Those old saws serve a useful purpose. But unless we’re willing to turn them over and look at the other side, we may never know what nuggets of wisdom, what omens of triumph, what uncommon principles lie underfoot.