Thursday, August 9, 2012

Conventional Thinking -- Alive and Well

Like Charlie Brown – who read about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the comic strip inferred in this photo – I’m fascinated with failure.

Reading right now about the failure of a Texas savings and loan, one that was steered into the ditch by greed. In the book, James O’Shea’s DAISY CHAIN, we meet a lot of unsavory characters. But one of them says something pretty apropos about Washington, DC, per Shea:
[Durward] Curlee [consultant to Don Dixon, CEO of failed Texas S&L Vernon Savings] recognized almost immediately that Washington was a company town. “Conventional thinking – not conventional wisdom – but conventional thinking dominates the place,” said Curlee. “And where does conventional thinking come from – from the staffs, the think tanks, the study groups, those kind of things. I figured it would take four years for an idea to gestate into conventional thinking. So you hire yourself a think tank and buy a study on what you want to do. It [the idea] gets into the agency, then to the staff, people start talking about it and it gets in the press, and then everyone thinks, ‘Okay, that’s it.’”
Conventional Thinking in this case is pejorative. It’s picking up whatever solution happens to be floating around at the moment, whether anyone is sure it’ll work or not, or whether or not there’s something better to do if we’d just think about things a bit.

It’s the herd mentality.

It’s thinking that the “success” of the automobile and banking industry bailouts ought to be repeated.

It is, as Dilbert puts it here, exactly the same thing as not having a strategy.

It’s certainly something I need to move away from.

It's time to go after the cheese that's been moved. Don't know where it's been moved to, but I'm goig to find it. That goes especially for my writing. Need to think nonconventionally -- avoid some of the traps I've seen new authors fall into (settling for mediocrity being the biggie, followeed only by falling into the template for your genre).

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