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Black Swans*

December 8, 2016

In this last election, we learned that the pundits and pollsters were wrong.

The experts predicted Hillary Clinton would win and they were wrong.  The stock market experts then predicted a market decline and they were wrong.  The experts predicted that the Brexit vote would lose and they were wrong.  The economic calamity predicted by the Brexit vote winning was wrong.

One has to wonder what other accepted conventional wisdom is or will be wrong.

Many of us, and perhaps too much of the time, rely on and just accept what the experts(?) tell us.  How does that affect your life?

“When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.”   —   Walter Lippmann

The greatest leaders in history beginning with Abraham, lived the life of the

“heroism of ordinary life, being willing to live by one’s convictions though all the world thinks otherwise, being true to the call of eternity, not the noise of now.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

One can easily make a list of great leaders who lived this life, at least to some degree.  Let me get you started, with just a few of the many examples of the non-Biblical names: The Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King,Jr., Steve Jobs …………

Who is on your list?  What can, or have you learned from them?

They all shared common traits in that they thought for themselves, they didn’t go along to get along, they weren’t looking to be popular (although they ended up being popular?), they had the strength of their conviction, didn’t bend or give up……

What can you learn from each of them so as to be true to yourself?  If you don’t think for yourself, then how can you be yourself?  If you are not yourself, what do you bring and add to the party?  If you are not yourself, then how can you truly be happy?

It is easier to just accept the conventional wisdom, rather than thinking for yourself.  It is easy to seek the comfort of being popular by going along to get along, but that doesn’t actually get you or the world anywhere.

“If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But, if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you.” – R’Mendel of Kotzk

 “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.” – Albert Einstein

 “If I’m going to sing like someone else, then I don’t need to sing at all.” – Billie Holiday

“To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval. Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are.”   —   Rebbe Nachman

*The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild.  To learn more, read the book “The Black Swan”, by Nicholas Taleb Nassim

Heart and Soul

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2016 10:41 am

    Fred, thanks again for taking the time to share these posts with us.

    • Fred Fox permalink
      December 8, 2016 10:46 am

      Thank you Capt. Kirk

  2. Derek permalink
    December 8, 2016 7:34 am

    This is excellent !!


  3. Helen permalink
    December 8, 2016 6:47 am

    All that you post is uplifting, inspiring and makes you want to be a better human being. Thanks

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