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Tried And Tested

When presented with a set of options, how often do you choose the 'tried and tested' approach to things? Be it in preparing for a job interview, or in preparing for exams, or in approaching a girl at a party, or in deciding what to wear on a date, or anything else for that matter. If your answer is 'pretty much all the time', then you're headed for trouble.

There are only so many situations where a tried and tested approach exists in the first place.

The problem with most students and most employees today is that they invariably tend to stick to the tried and tested approach. In fact, so much that the phrase has started to have a negative connotation to it in my head. Even though the world tries to show again and again that each individual is unique and each one must chart his own way to success, few people acknowledge it. Most fail to even notice it.

I can think of two reasons for this behaviour. One, everyone is inherently a coward and constantly fears the possibility of adverse consequences (most of the times imagined) of being different from the crowd. There is a total lack of self-confidence as following the bandwagon (no questions asked) continues to be the ultimate mantra for every kid on the block. Also, being different in any manner is invariably accompanied by social ridicule. Most of the time, there might not be any actual ridicule, but there is definitely expectation of it on the part of the actor which drives him to follow the proverbial bandwagon. And nearly everyone has this inexplicable urge to appear 'cool' in the eyes of the society which heightens this fear of being ridiculed.

Two, nearly everyone underestimates the number of opportunities life provides him/her. Every time one is faced with an important decision, s/he'll invariably treat it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which means s/he will be frightened to death about the prospect of making the wrong choice. This will eventually drive him to the 'tried and tested' approach.

If you think the arfument is silly, just look back upon the decisions you've made in the last couple of years and try to see it in light of this argument.

This is the primary reason for everything that's wrong in this world today. And its only getting worse as more and more people start taking the 'tried and tested' approach. Each one needs to arrive at his own approach as the tried and tested doesn't take into account what is unique about the person making the decision. It is that unique factor that is the ultimate asset of every person. It his his/her duty to nurture and make full use of it. Taking the easy way (tried and tested) out will never do justice to that potential.

Its imperative that you start analyzing things from the perspective of your unique strength and not blindly following a path that most people take. Otherwise, the only skill you will pick up in life is to follow someone's lead and to follow instructions, no questions asked. Where do you think that will get you? What will that let you teach your kids (apart from 'Son, follow the tried and the tested path')?

The next time your senior in college, or your teacher, or your boss, asks you to take a certain path, or the next time you decide to emulate someone's decision, just spare a moment to critically think as to how that decision/action will affect you (apart from getting on the good books of that person), and it will automatically be clear to you whether you should go ahead or not.

What do you think?

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