by Sunil Bali, 08-06-14

When Andy Murray hired Ivan Lendl as his coach, he told Lendl, "Give it to me straight – warts and all."

"You’ve got the game to win Wimbledon, but at the moment you’re going onwards and sidewards. You’re listening to too many opinions and trying to play a game others think you should play. You have to trust yourself, play your own game and take a few more risks," was Lendl’s advice.

Fast forward two years of playing more adventurously, winning two Major titles, and Murray is on his way to becoming a Knight, with a little help from his Czech mate.

Whilst it’s not always easy to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you conform, the reward for conformity is that more people who don’t matter like you, but you don’t like yourself.

The paradox is that when we care less about winning the affection of our audience and instead focus on being creative, more people will be affected by what we do.

It’s why:

– Steve Jobs didn’t listen to focus groups.

– It’s why Henry Ford said, "If I had asked people what they wanted they would said faster horses."

– Its why Head of Marketing for Cirque du Soleil, Mario D’Amico said, "If we had asked our audience what they wanted, we would end up doing Swan Lake every year."

Seeking congratulations is natural. But ultimately it corrupts our art and contaminates the creative process.

Besides, when the vast majority talk, they don’t tend to say anything – at least nothing that’s worth listening to. Social media channels seem to be platforms for sellers of the soporific, brokers of bland and dealers of dull.

If you want to escape the cult of the average and the race to mediocrity, then as Dr. Jonas Ridderstrale says in his book Karaoke Capitalism, "You have to take a risk to be authentic and practice business as unusual, because normality is the route to nowhere."

This isn’t about thinking that you’re better than everyone else. It’s about knowing you’re not the same as everyone else.

Down the centuries it’s always been the same. It’s the people who have been prepared to take a risk and challenge the status quo who have made a difference to people’s lives …… if Michelangelo had decided to play it safe, he would have painted the Sistine floor.

I’ll leave the last word on this subject to my friends the giraffes, who say, "If you don’t stick your neck out, you won’t get any leaves. "


Two for the ladies and one for the gents:

  1. Wife: Can I have $15,000 to get some breast implants to make them bigger?

    Husband: Why don’t you just rub toilet paper on your breasts?

    Wife: Do you really think that will them bigger?

    Husband: Well it seems to have worked on your arse.

  2. Husband: I just had a strange conversation with my wife about getting a home improvement loan. She offered me $5000 to move out.
  3. Single lady: I got a big response to my advert on the internet saying, "Husband wanted". In 2hrs I received over 300 emails saying, "You can have mine".

… and finally, a huge heartfelt thank you for allowing me into your inbox every Sunday. I’m humbled that 40,172 people across the globe subscribe to my blog. Thank you.