You could say that this post is a follow-up to the one on the virtues of staying ordinary. But, chronologically, this one should have appeared earlier. The article by Simon Kuper was published in January. My good friend, Rajeev Mantri, had forwarded it a while ago. But, I just managed to read it last night. It resonates rather well with the message of the post I had done on the virtues of being ordinary.
This is the comment I posted on the article:
May be, the reason why most of the comments focused on Arsène Wenger is that the author keeps coming back to him, as though he was the prime example of what he was trying to convey – that original thinkers simply are at ‘it’ for its own sake. In the process, he appears to have lost some of his readers, if the comments are any indication. That is a pity. The article makes an important point.
The choice between ‘original thinking’ and ‘winning’ finds its echo in other situations.
For example, one can extend the logic of the article to business situations. It could be about choosing to grow big or stay small. Think of Google or Apple today and what they stand for and the compromises they have made along the way and contrast them with the high values they espoused and got us excited about them.
Or, it is also the choice between quantity and quality. Both may and can co-exist in commerce but not so in creative arts, culture, thought and communication.
Also, staying ‘original’ is also about staying true to one’s values and not having to compromise one’s integrity by showing some ‘flexibility’ to grow richer and bigger.
Thus, there is more than one dimension to the central message of this piece.
It is all about the courage to resist the temptation to seek fame and wealth at the expense of values and principles. That is the advantage of staying ordinary and original.
For better or worse, this is the message (from the Bhagavad Gita) that the partner of Charles Assisi had told him:
When your ambitions and values come into conflict, the onus is on you
to decide what side of the fence you want to stand on. [Link]