Why it’s OK to play the fool on the hill

I’ve always loved the Beatles. As I explored in ‘Bringing out the greatness in others’ the variety of their music was extraordinary. For me, it’s their quirky songs that stand out; none more so than ‘The Fool on the Hill’ – a song about a scarecrow.

Day after day alone on the hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still,
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around

In literature, the ‘wise fool’, is a well-known archetype. It’s probably best seen in the many fools William Shakespeare created to impart wit and wisdom, often to show up the ignorance of their superiors. Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Falstaff in ‘Henry IV’ and The Fool, in ‘King Lear’ all exist to tell us what’s really going on.

Standing out can feel foolish

In our own way, we too must be fools. The journey to becoming a successful influencer often starts with more of a whimper than a bang. In setting out new ideas, new approaches and challenges to the status quo, we’re often seen as wacky, off-piste or just plain wrong.

In his excellent TED video, entrepreneur Derek Siver captures the intricacies. It’s spot on, funny and short. Just 3 minutes to convey an essential truth on how to start and bui...

Get comfortable with vulnerable

Siver’s argues that anyone wanting to start something new will, at first, risk the ridicule of looking like a ‘lone nut’. That’s about standing strong in conviction, but completely unsupported by anyone else. If you’ve ever been the first person on the dance floor you’ll know the feeling – especially if your ‘moves’ are of the ‘Dad’ variety like mine!

Stand in your conviction

There’s no question that ‘first mover’ can feel like a tough place to be. Worse, we may have to stand there for months rather than the few seconds in the video. Is it worth it? I think it has to be. Aspiring influencers need to have a bit of the lone nut in them. (This is why being a thought leader is SO much more than being an expert. They are NOT the same thing). If we want to stand out, to attract new followers and make money, we need to experiment. We’ve got to put it out there.

In a world of same-same products and services, there’s never been a greater need for businesses to innovate. There’s also never been a greater prize for those souls brave enough to stand out. As we gradually build a following around our ideas, we also grow our confidence, our income and our legacy!

Maybe it’s cool to be the fool after all? Hope to see you on the hill!

Mark

 

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