“Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there is no path and leave a trail” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inspiring, but what does it mean today?
There is a LOT of information online. Endless people selling success and telling people us how to live. Videos on every possible lifestyle. Whatever it is you’re considering doing, there is someone who has done it and “left a trail”. So where does that leave us?
If you search “how to start a candy business”, you will see dozens of blog posts, videos, and articles about what you need to consider, know, and have to start a candy business. Having seen these things, it is easy to follow the trail and start a candy business within these guidelines. Odds are, they’re accurate enough that it may work. But, are you now better off than if you had never read anything? Now that you have read that article, you are anchored to that list of guidelines, even if you don’t actively consider them.
With this much information available — and constantly pushed into our Facebook feeds, YouTube homepages, and every other page of the internet in the form of ads — it is often hard to “blaze the trail” because at some point or another, you have run into the idea somewhere else on the internet.
Maybe we don’t need to create a new trail, we can just build on what has been done, but for someone like me who wants to change the face of business, this is kind of a problem.
Our minds are amazing, but they are not perfect. Cognitive biases affect everything we do. How is it possible to create from nothing when the mind is guided by things we see — even if we don’t want to be influenced.
The truth is, I don’t know.
How I address this problem is by consuming as much knowledge as I possibly can. I learn about business — current and historical — philosophy, physics, genetics, psychology, and whatever else interests me. I diversify my personal studies because when you do that, trends emerge. Instead of learning simply about the knowledge contained in the discipline, you start to see patterns in how humans accomplish things.
This is what I base my creation upon.
All people know certain things — love trumps hate, long term over short term, there are ups and downs — are true, yet most people fail to take them into account in decision making. The most successful people of all time are generally the ones who realize these truths early and incorporate them into each and every decision they make.
The biggest flaw in how business is done right now is that it is all based on short term thinking. Quarterly profits. Beating competition. Extraction of resources. Abuse of international labour. This is wrong, and we are seeing the impacts grow every day.
If, instead of basing thoughts about creation of businesses on what has been done, and the information that is out there, we use the principles of long term sustainability, creation of value with and for other people (co-creation), and love across all aspects, we will end up with a world of prosperity, rather than an unequal distribution of resources, disparity, and happiness.