The Consensus Is — There’s No Consensus
What is the best way to sing?
What is the best way to sing?
Beyonce Knowles sings very differently to Barbara Streisand, who sings differently to Freddy Mercury, and his singing was very different to Adele’s. Each has risen to great heights by doing things their respective way.
So what’s the best way to sing? What’s the consensus?
What is the best way to steer a soccer team to victory?
Pep Guardiola’s teams hoard possession, press hard and break teams down. And they’ve won it all.
But then there’s Jose Mourinho’s teams who are the stark opposite. They’re defensively tight, less sexy, less glamorous. They’ve won it all as well.
In the 2015/16 season of the English Premier League, Leicester City had an average possession per game of 41%. Despite this, they were shock winners of the title — no one thought they’d be in the conversation. The next season after this incredible feat, their manager, Claudio Ranieri, was sacked.
Different again is the style of Liverpool FC, currently led by Jurgen Klopp who is the don of ‘heavy metal football’ — of high-pressing and high-tempo counter-attacking football. He’s won it all too.
So how do we decide what the best way to play is? What’s the consensus?
Do successful people need university degrees?
Charlie Munger, the famous investor, has a law degree. So too does Peter Weir, who directed notable films like The Truman Show. And Harley Finkelstein, the President of Shopify, credits his law degree as having played a big part in his success.
But hang on… Mark Zuckerburg dropped out of college, Bill Gates dropped out, Steve Jobs dropped out. David Karp (Tumblr) never graduated high school!
What’s the Consensus?
What about reading?
Charlie Munger once said, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads–and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”
On the other hand Gary Vaynerchuck, the social media and content kingpin is notorious for thinking that reading books is overrated.
So is reading good or bad? What’s the consensus?
Pull at the thread…
Sticking with Gary, he is a marketing thought leader and encourages marketers to embrace new social platforms from Snapchat to Facebook to TikTok to LinkedIn to Instagram to Twitch and everything inbetween.
Seth Godin is also a marketing thought leader, and is very channel agnostic. He focuses on the fundamentals and principles (like the Smallest Viable Audience). It’s an incredibly different message, not necessarily mutually exclusive.
So what is the best way to do marketing? What’s the consensus?
It gets more confusing.
Yuval Noah Harari, the famous historian and author of Sapiens does a 2 month silent retreat every year. Jack Dorsey, CEO and Founder of Twitter and Square is famous for going on silent retreats too, yet Elon Musk doesn’t believe in any time off the job.
Elon Musk and Steve Jobs sound like they are or were very difficult characters to work with. We know some leaders push their people to extremes to get results. Then we have companies like Pixar, who have Pixar University and allow their staff to spend up to 20% of their time off company work, learning new things.
Seth Godin blogs everyday yet Tucker Marx sends two emails a year.
Sia, Banksy, and Satoshi don’t reveal their identity whilst most artists crave attention.
Mark Cuban says he has never really had a mentor whilst countless entrepreneurs and artists say they couldn’t have made it without their mentors.
Socrates didn’t believe in writing anything down but Plato wrote in droves.
Most people have never head of Bill Campbell but most have heard of Tony Robbins – they’re both the legendary coaches of great entrepreneurs and contributors.
Warren Buffet drinks Coke and has lived over the age of 90, yet Jordan Peterson only eats red meat.
The consensus is — there’s no consensus!
We spend all our time looking for ‘the way’ or rather, ‘the right way’. The truth is, such a way almost never exists.
Everyone dresses in their own style, putting together their own combination of garments to develop their own unique way.
There is no right or wrong way to dress, apart from the way that reflects and serves you for who you are. Because dressing in the right way for you attracts more people who will vibe and thrive off you.
It is when you are trying to fit in with others, that you find yourself doing it ‘the wrong’ way.
The case of social media.
I made a recent decision to pair back my use of social media. I’d been aggressively posting about my podcast on platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn and Tik Tok. After some thinking, I decided I wanted to experiment with reducing this exposure.
A friend of mine recently found my TikTok videos, and said that they inspired her to start promoting herself more on the channel. That’s funny I said, because I’m not going to be posting there anymore. She looked surprised.
I went on to say that doesn’t mean that any of these things are uniformly bad — rather, for now they’re not for me. Everyone must figure out their own way, and what is right for them. I do not drink, but that does not mean that all drinking is bad. I do not skydive, that does not mean that all skydiving is bad.
Too many people fall into the trap of thinking that what works for them will work for all, and therefore that, all must follow their way. In fact, this is almost the opposite of what needs to happen.
Rather we must say, with everything that is taught or promoted, that “this is what works for me, this is what I think. Hopefully it will be useful for you, and if not, hopefully it gets you one step closer to clarity on how you think about this”.
If I were running Apple, Tesla, or Liverpool…
If I were running Apple, I wouldn’t mimic Steve Jobs leadership style. I’m not Steve Jobs — I’d learn what I could from him, then I’d run it in a way that befit my abilities.
If I were running Tesla, I wouldn’t mimic Elon Musk. I’m not Elon Musk — I’m Joe Wehbe. I have different skills and abilities, for better or for worse. I’d lean into them and then fill the gaps in my technical knowledge with the right people.
If I were coaching Liverpool FC, I wouldn’t try to copy the style of the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp. I am not Jurgen Klopp. Instead, I would stand on the shoulders of giants and develop my own way.
The Song of the Blue Unicorn
In Brad Blanton’s book Radical Honesty, he quotes the Song of the Blue Unicorn. In this fairy tale by Carol Mason, a Blue Unicorn unlike any other creature in existence is searching the world for its song.
It passes through the Land of the Bright Meadows, The Land of the Deep Forest, The Land of Bare Mountains, The Land of White Sands and the Land of Clear Waters. Each of these Lands sings a song, but the Blue Unicorn finds each time that it cannot sing their songs, and these lands say to the Unicorn
“Our song is ours, you must find your own,”
The fairy tale comes to a very wholesome end in the Land of Clear Waters, when the Blue Unicorn looks down in the water and finally sees a creature that looks like itself… a reflection.
As the blue of our waters is the blue of the sky
Your own self you see, to yourself you cry.
And what you would learn you always knew
For you are us and we are you. We are the Waters of Love
Of us we bid you to drink. With us we bid you to sing.
And the song of the Blue Unicorn was exactly the same and quite unlike every song that was ever sung.
What is your next decision?
Are you deciding which website host to use, what colour pants to wear today, which friends you want to be more like, what job you should be doing, what your project should look like, whether you should go to university or not, or where you should send your children to school?
There is only one right answer, and that answer is whatever works best for you — that you had the courage to develop a Without-The-Box Solution, and not just depend on what others you look up to and want to fit in with would do.
The Consensus Is — There’s No Conensus.
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