This past Tuesday, I
had a meeting with my business mentor (Let’s call him Al). Al is a successful
business man with dozens of franchises under his name. My meeting with him was
at 9:00am at the Ogilvie Metra Station in Chicago (one of the busiest stations
in downtown Chicago, serving more than 40,000 people every day). I arrived at
the Metra station at exactly 8:55am... and as I struggled to make my way into
the station, a crowd of people all trying to beat the rush hour were pushing
their way out of the station. The revolving doors that let people out of the
station were spinning so fast that I had to wait almost 3 minutes for the doors
to quit spinning before I could spin it in the opposite direction to get in.
This delay at the front door caused me to arrive 3 minutes late to my appointment with Al. When I walked into his office, I said, “Al, I’m so sorry I’m late, there was a large crowd of people trying to exit Ogilvie on my way in” and he said, “The thing you probably don’t know about all these people is that 95% of them are employees. Most of them work for an employer and that’s why they are all rushing out to beat the rush hour. They want to get into work before 9:00am so no one tells them they are late. Most people like predictability. They like to be told what to do, what time to show up at work and how to do things. But you did the right thing; you took the door traveling in the opposite direction. That’s what the remaining top 5% of people do!”
Take Home Message – When everyone else is traveling in a particular direction, don’t be afraid to break away from the group and take the path less travelled!