Outliers change the world

Outliers change the world

There are experts and then there are outliers.

Experts spend years learning an industry or skill set. They follow the processes and procedures transmitted to them by previous Experts. This is becoming their industry-accepted and well-worn path. They know what they know. Know what works and what doesn’t.

Outliers, however, almost always start as non-experts. They don’t know what they don’t know. They are not locked into accepted theories, processes or dogmas, accepted as fact by experts. As a result, they pursue avenues that the experts would never take – the avenues that the experts have decided are dead ends. This causes the Outliers to wander and take contrary paths. And by wandering, Outliers are those who find solutions to problems that experts are never able to find, because experts rarely wander or take contrary paths.

That’s why almost every breakthrough discovery is made by an Outlier.

After my radio interview with Dave Ramsey, CNN wrote a scathing article about my research. Many “study experts,” “experts” who had never seen my research or discussed it with me, weighed in. Almost all the “experts” laughed at my study because I was an academic outlier who dared to conduct a study. Since then, my study data has been validated by various third parties, such as Wealth X and Chris Hogan.

But I learned that I was not alone. There were a lot of outliers that were also ridiculed by the “experts”.

  • Leonardo da Vinci was an outlier – He was a painter and sculptor who made many discoveries: arteriosclerosis, that the heart had four chambers (and not 2, as experts believed), that blood swirls in a vortex at the base of the aorta, forcing closure of the aortic valve. None of his findings were verified until 1968, some 450 years after da Vinci’s death.
  • Benjamin Franklin was on Outlier – He was a printer and politician who discovered that lightning and electricity were one and the same.
  • Charles Darwin was an outlier – a theologian, he defied experts and the Church by postulating the theory of evolution.
  • Nicola Tesla was an outlier – Tesla discovered electricity was ubiquitous – it was all around us and he built a large electricity receiver/transmitter in Colorado which allowed him to distribute electricity without thread. He called it free energy. When JP Morgan found out, it cut off all funding for Tesla, as much of Morgan’s wealth was tied to petroleum products. While Tesla’s free-energy device design has been suppressed by the US government, six of its free-energy devices are nonetheless operating in a small town in Switzerland, made by a mechanical engineer who followed Tesla’s design.
  • Thomas Edison was an outlier – He was the first to control the flow and distribution of electricity, which experts were unable to do.
  • Einstein was an outlier – He discovered his theory of relativity while daydreaming on a train, while commuting to work as a patent clerk.
  • Henry Ford was an outlier – He was an upstart automaker who came up with the idea for an assembly line after visiting a slaughterhouse in Chicago, forever changing the way cars were made.
  • Richard Branson was an outlier – Branson ventured into the music business and changed the way the industry sold records and discovered new talent.
  • Steve Jobs was an outlier – He and Steve Wozniak pioneered the use of icons and a monitor in the first personal computers they built.
  • Elon Musk is an outlier – He had no knowledge or expertise when he decided to become a rocket maker. Experts mocked Musk’s “reusable rocket” idea.

Not everyone can be an outlier. Outliers must have very thick skin to endure the slingshots and arrows of the “Experts”, until they prove the “Experts” wrong and, in doing so, end up changing the world.

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Head of Tom Corley

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner, lecturer and author of the books “Wealthy Habits: Daily Success Habits of Wealthy People” and “RichKids: How to raise our children to be happy and successful in life“. Corley’s work has appeared on CNN, USA Today, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, and numerous other outlets and podcasts in the United States and 27 other countries. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider and CNBC.

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