How Successful People Think Chapter 8

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Success Notes of the Day: Chapter 8 Question Popular Thinking

How Successful People Think By John C. Maxwell

“Benno Muller-Hill, a professor in the University of Cologne genetics department, tells how one morning in his high school he stood last in a line of forty students in the schoolyard. His physics teacher had set up a telescope so that his students could view a planet and its moons. The first student stepped up to the telescope. He looked through it, but when the teacher asked if he could see anything the boy said no; his nearsightedness hampered his view. The teacher showed him how to adjust the focus, and the boy finally said he could see the planet and moons. One by one, the students stepped up to the telescope and saw what they were supposed to see. Finally the second to last student looked into the telescope and announced that he could not see anything.

“You idiot,” shouted the teacher, “you had to adjust the lenses.”

The student tried, but finally he said, “I still can’t see anything. It is all black.”

The teacher disgusted, looked through the telescope himself, and then looked up with a strange expression. The lens cap still covered the telescope. None of the students had been able to see anything.”

“Many people look for safety and security in popular thinking. They figure that if a lot of people are doing something, then it must be right. It must be a good idea.”

“Challenging popular thinking requires a willingness to be unpopular and go outside the norm.”

“You must reject common thinking if you want to accomplish uncommon results.”


Where would it serve you to challenge common thinking?

Quotes from: John C. Maxwell, How Successful People Think (New York: Center Street, 2009), pages 84, 86-87.

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