When you think “wildly successful”, who comes to mind?
For me it’s individuals like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and J.K. Rowling. However, these people weren’t always seen as they are now. They were all once labeled things like, “foolish”, “senseless”, or “crazy” by people who couldn’t understand them.
Why? Anyone who challenges the status quo and presents new, radical ideas is bound to meet resistance in some form or another. However, what makes crazy-minded individuals successful is their ability to overcome the odds stacked against them – no matter what they may be.
There are certain traits of people with crazy minds that can lead them to be successful beyond any of their peers. Below are the top five…
1. They don’t care what others think of them.
When Henry Ford proposed his idea of making a “horseless carriage” people thought he had gone insane. If he had listened to the naysayers he would never have begun production on the world’s first car or introduced the assembly line and revolutionized the manufacturing industry.
People with crazy minds succeed in life because they don’t let what others think about them hold them back from achieving their goals.
2. They don’t let other people tell them what to do.
During development of the first iPod, Steve Jobs met with the designers who showed him a prototype. After holding it in his hands, examining the weight, and testing it out, he deemed it too big. One of the designers promptly explained that it would be impossible to make the iPod any smaller than it already was. Looking down at the iPod and at again at the designer, Jobs silently walked over to an aquarium in the room and dropped the iPod in the water. Everyone’s mouths dropped open. As the iPod made its way to the bottom of the tank, bubbles floated to the top. “See those air bubbles,” Steve said. “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”
People with crazy minds don’t take “no” for an answer. In fact, when they hear someone say something is not possible, that just pushes them harder to figure out a way to make it happen.
3. They don’t let their fears control their actions.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling, who you may know as one of the most successful writers of our generation, was not always so accomplished. At one point in her life, Rowling was a single mother on unemployment and collecting welfare checks to survive. In her commencement address at Harvard University she reflected on that time by saying, “Failure meant a stripping away of the essential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and I began to direct all my energies to finishing the only work that mattered to me.” That work eventually became the Harry Potter series.
Those with crazy minds are able to see past their fear of failure. Often this is because they have failed countless times before or, like Rowling, have already hit rock bottom and have nothing else to lose.
4. They create their own path.
Usually the reason people are seen as crazy is because their ideas differ from the norm – they think outside the box. Being human, this scares many of us. Our lives are already so full of chaos and randomness that when someone comes along with an idea that we’ve never seen or heard before, we’d rather cast them aside than try to understand them.
This is exactly what happened to billionaire entrepreneur and thrill-seeker Elon Musk. No one took Musk seriously when he told the world he was going to create an electric car for the masses. In fact, many media outlets were actively rooting against him. Through determination, perseverance, and a lot of hard work, he was able to create the company we know today as Tesla (embraced by Consumer Reports as one of the best cars you can buy).
5. They go with their gut.
Successful people with eccentric minds all make decisions the same way – based on their instincts.
A study by Tel Aviv University found intuition to be an incredibly accurate tool for decision-making. It turns out that this crazy way of making decisions isn’t actually crazy at all. In fact, it has helped human beings to use good judgement and discernment for thousands of years.
Making decisions based on your gut feeling isn’t only helpful in your personal life. Frank Knight, one of the founders of the Chicago School of Economics, has said the majority of business decisions are made based on intuition. This is because in a number of situations there are too many variables and unknowns to make an analysis worthwhile.
Even in business it pays to be a little crazy.
Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com